Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Clear Out Twits! Twitter Tells Third-Party Developers to Stop Building Clients

Twitter today told developers explicitly that they should stop making third-party clients, citing repeated privacy policy violations and an inconsistent user experience.

Ryan Sarver, who leads the company’s platform team, said in an announcement on the company’s developer discussion group that existing third-party clients can continue to operate but they will be held to rigorous standards of privacy and consistency. The micro-messaging company said it now makes the top five Twitter clients (including its Web site) and says 90 percent of its active users use its apps at least once a month.

The key quote is:

Developers have told us that they’d like more guidance from us about the
best opportunities to build on Twitter. More specifically, developers ask
us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream
Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.

In point of fact, there aren’t a ton of independent Twitter client shops anymore because UberMedia has bought many of them up, including UberTwitter and Twidroyd, and is in the process of buying TweetDeck. You have to wonder if Accel Partners knew this was coming when the firm led a $17.5 million round for UberMedia last month. Since then, Twitter shut down two of its apps for three days, citing policy violations.

And now this.

Sarver said developers are welcome to continue to work on Twitter publisher tools, curation, real-time data signals, social CRM and content verticals.

But, as for the heart of the Twitter experience: Leave it to us.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik