Twitter restores free API access for weather and emergency updates

3 May 2023

Image: © MichaelVi/

Verified government and publicly owned accounts will now be able to use the Twitter API to auto-share tweets.

Government and public services that have verified accounts on Twitter have regained access to the free API to ensure they can continue to send out critical notifications of public importance such as weather alerts, transport updates and emergency notifications.

In a tweet yesterday (2 May), Twitter’s development team confirmed the backtrack after the company ended free access to its basic API in early February and launched a three-tier paid version.

This caused problems for many government and public service accounts that were not willing or in a position to pay for the new, relatively expensive paid plan that prices out nearly everyone at around $42,000 per month.

In one example, New York’s metropolitan transportation authority said it would stop posting alerts on Twitter after facing a $50,000 per month fee for API access.

Others have been responding to the move too. Last month, Microsoft dropped Twitter from its advertising platform, meaning that users are no longer able to access their accounts, create and manage tweets, view past tweets and engagement, or even schedule tweets.

Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are still available on the platform.

Just yesterday, industry fallout continued as content management tool WordPress ended its JetPack plugin for auto-sharing tweets, citing Twitter’s decision to “dramatically change the terms and pricing of the Twitter API”.

“We have attempted to work with Twitter in good faith to negotiate new terms, but we have not been able to reach an agreement,” WordPress said in a blog post.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this causes for your website and marketing efforts. We wish the outcome had been different, but our customers are always our primary concern and we’re not willing to compromise the experience or value you receive from Jetpack.”

While the move certainly benefits many important accounts sharing critical information in real-time, the fact that they have to be verified may complicate matters.

There has been significant confusion around verified accounts on Twitter as blue ticks have been disappearing and reappearing on many large accounts not subscribed to paid plans, seemingly arbitrarily at times.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic