Twitter bans third-party apps in new developer rules

20 Jan 2023

Image: © Jirapong/

Twitter cut off access for popular third-party apps last week and said it was enforcing ‘long-standing API rules’.

Twitter has quietly updated its developer agreement to ban third-party clients, roughly a week after it started blocking these apps from accessing the platform.

The new rules state that other groups can’t use Twitter’s API or its licensed materials to “create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter applications”.

These applications essentially refer to all of Twitter’s services, as it includes “consumer facing products, services, applications, websites, web pages, platforms, and other offerings”.

On 12 January, users began noticing that they couldn’t access certain third-party apps. The issue was believed to be a glitch in Twitter’s API at first, but The Information later reported that this was an intentional suspension by Twitter.

Twitter broke its radio silence on Tuesday 17 January and said it was enforcing its “long-standing API rules”. These rules appear to be the ones from the developer agreement which was updated yesterday (19 January).

The updated developer agreement confirms fears that Twitter has moved to ban third-party apps, some of which have been active on Twitter since its early years.

For example, Twitterific has been active on Twitter since 2007 and was one of the first mobile and desktop clients for the platform. The app claims it helped redefine the word “tweet” in the dictionary and that its own blue bird logo was later adopted by Twitter.

Twitterific said yesterday (19 January) that it has been “discontinued” and is no longer available on app stores.

“We are sorry to say that the app’s sudden and undignified demise is due to an unannounced and undocumented policy change by an increasingly capricious Twitter – a Twitter that we no longer recognize as trustworthy nor want to work with any longer,” Twitterific said in a blog post.

Twitterific went on to thank their customers and fans: “Your financial support may have paid the bills, but your spiritual support enriched our souls and for that we can never thank you enough.”

While Twitter hasn’t given a specific reason for the new ban, there is speculation that the company wants to force people to use its own clients.

The platform has been in a chaotic period with advertisers since Elon Musk took over the company last October. Zoë Schiffer, managing editor of Platformer, tweeted this week that Twitter’s revenue went down 40pc year over year.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic