Twitter ends free access to its APIs among a string of incidents to hit the social media platform

We’ve witnessed a huge change in Twitter since Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of the popular social media platform in October.

Twitter’s existing workforce at takeover has been drastically reduced to a mere 17% and the company has lost 40% of its revenue, with advertisers constantly jumping ship.

Last week, Musk announced he was ending free access to APIs meaning some popular accounts could disappear from Twitter as the business magnate continues to push for revenue.

Twitter announced the application program interface (API) would be cut off and replaced by a paid version from 9 February. This latest set of changes will likely mark the end of some of users’ favourite accounts, tools and features.

What is API?

API provides access to Twitter data which can then be used to create third-party apps, automated bots and customer service tools for brands. It also gives researchers the means to report on trends or patterns on the site.

Accounts that could disappear

While many larger companies already pay for access, it is unlikely some of the smaller developers of popular tools and accounts will be able or willing to pay. Some of the key accounts that could disappear now pay-for-access API has come into play include the following:

Thread readers – an app that has the ability to reformat posts with a long thread of tweets on a topic.

Possum Every Hour – an automated account made for fun that tweets out photographs and artwork at regular intervals. This account has already ceased operating on Twitter but continues to work with rival network Mastodon.

Auto-delete services – third party apps that allow you to delete your tweets on masse using Twitter’s API.

Weather, environment and health trackers – accounts that scrape data from other sites and automatically tweet it using Twitter’s API.

Brand customer service accounts – Hootsuite or similar that manage a large company’s social media accounts and track customer complaints – which rely on Twitter’s API.

Why does this matter?

Twitter’s move to charge for API access is the latest in a string of changes Elon Musk has made since he took over the company 4 months ago.

In the same week, while the company was in the process of ending its free access to API, Twitter users found they were temporarily unable to post new Tweets on the website for almost an hour, with some being told they had hit their daily post limit, despite many users reporting they had not tweeted all day.

Tweetdeck – a Twitter-owned service – was also down, increasing speculation this product might become exclusive to Twitter Blue subscribers, although the company have yet to confirm this.

US tech publication, The Information, have reported that Elon Musk has asked staff to pause “new feature development” in a move to try and stabilise the app.

Twitter has not said what it will charge for basic API access, nor has it indicated whether the charge will apply to all users of the API, including researchers.


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