Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter Plans to Choke Access to Apps It Doesn’t Approve

Twitter isn’t going to shut off applications that it doesn’t like, but it will restrict their access to new users.

The company today issued a detailed guide to coming changes to its platform, including lower rate limits and authentication and certification requirements.

Most importantly, Twitter said it will require large applications to get direct approval, or else.

But this punishment is hardly immediate: Twitter won’t enforce its crackdown until an app doubles its user base.

Going forward, applications that have more than 100,000 users will have to work directly with Twitter. Those that already have more than 100,000 user tokens can only grow to 200 percent of their current size before they will be limited.

Twitter likes developers in the left-side quadrants and the lower right. The ones in the upper right, not so much.

Who won’t get approved by Twitter? You can probably guess this one! In a lengthy blog post today, Twitter VP of Product Michael Sippey laid out which types of applications Twitter likes, and which it does not encourage. Those on the hit list are “traditional Twitter clients” and syndication providers — Sippey specifically named Tweetbot and Echofon.

That stance is no surprise, as Mike Isaac had recently laid out in a forward-looking post about Twitter’s goals for consistent display of tweets.

Twitter had long told builders of Twitter clients that it wasn’t happy with them, but actions — well, the promise of actions out in some distant future — speak louder than words.

Developers had been anticipating this particular hammer dropping for at least two months now. Twitter had indicated it would be more cutthroat by dropping a partnership with LinkedIn and picking a set of high-profile approved partners like the New York Times and Nike to participate in its big new platform play, Twitter Cards.

While developers have long wrestled with Twitter’s changing approach to its API, one thing they consistently ask for is clarity. I’m sure many will still have questions, but Sippey’s post today is far more detailed than previous communications, which included a somewhat ominous letter to developers two months ago.

Sippey said that the changes he described would go into effect “in the coming weeks,” when version 1.1 of the Twitter API is released.

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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