It’s been about a day since almost every major third-party Twitter client broke, and developers say they still haven’t heard from the company about what’s going on. The problems seemed to start on Thursday evening when some users said they were getting authentication errors.
Almost nothing has been heard from the company in a while. In a post on Mastodon, Tweetbot co-creator Paul Haddad said, “Still no official/unofficial info from inside Twitter,” said Tweetbot co-creator Paul Haddad in a Mastodon post. “We’re in the dark just as much as you are,” read a Friday blog post from Iconfactory, the company behind Twitterific.
As of Friday evening, neither the official Twitter account nor the Twitter Support account had tweeted about the problems with third-party apps. (So much for the idea that being honest builds trust.) There is no communications department at the company that we could talk to about the problem.
We’re aware that Twitterrific is having problems communicating with Twitter. We don’t yet know what the root cause is, but we’re trying to find out. Please stay tuned and apologies.
— Twitterrific (@Twitterrific) January 13, 2023
Twitter users, developers, and some news outlets have said they think this is a move by Twitter to shut down all third-party clients. Haddad says that his company will assume that the outage is on purpose, and the Iconfactory post suggests that there might be “a new (seemingly unstated and unannounced) policy that only affects apps with a lot of users.”
Unfortunately still no news from Twitter.
Fenix on Android still suspended, on iOS still working fine. https://t.co/lEClIFxFUc
— Matteo Villa (@mttvll) January 13, 2023
Some apps, like Albatross and Fenix, have kept working for me and some other people. However, the developer of Fenix says that the Android version has been taken down, but the iOS version has stayed up. The official Twitter app is still working, too.
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Twitter’s API is how third-party apps get data from the service. This has been a point of contention in the past, when the company didn’t provide tools for outside developers.
Before Elon Musk bought the company, things seemed to be getting better, but it’s not clear where he stands on other Twitter apps because he doesn’t seem to have said much good or bad about them. But Twitter 2.0 has reasons to make its own app the only game in town. The company is trying hard to make money and is putting a lot of focus on its Blue subscription service, which has features that can be used by its own client. Also, most third-party apps don’t show ads, which means that some users might not have been making any money at all.
It’s hard to tell if the API is to blame for the third-party client going down. Some calls I tried from my own Twitter developer account seemed to work, but Twitter’s own API explorer tool is broken right now.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.