IFTTT disables Twitter triggers, but not because of recent API changes

21 Sep 2012

Users of IFTTT, which means ‘if this, then that’, were disappointed to receive an email from CEO Linden Tibbets last night informing them that they would no longer be able to use the service to push tweets to places like email, Evernote and Facebook. Immediately, this was blamed on Twitter’s recent policy update – but things aren’t always what they seem.

IFTTT lets users create ‘recipes’ that connect two web services and prompt actions from one to the other. For example, users could set it up so that they are alerted by email whenever a specific Twitter user posts a new tweet, or that their favourited tweets are sent to a notebook on Evernote.

At least, they used to be able to do this until IFTTT decided to remove all Twitter triggers from its service, disabling users’ ability to push tweets to other services. All recipes using these triggers will be removed from IFTTT on 27 September, however the ability to post tweets from another service to Twitter (Twitter actions as opposed to Twitter triggers) remains intact.

Seeing as Tibbets opened the mass email with the words, “In recent weeks, Twitter announced policy changes that will affect how applications and users like yourself can interact with Twitter’s data,” and stated that IFTTT’s decision comes as a direct result of these changes, it’s no surprise that users have lashed out at Twitter for hampering what is a very useful resource.

However, the developer terms cited by IFTTT in the email (Section 4A of Twitter’s API, to be exact) have been in place since April 2011 – at least – as spotted by Mike Isaac at AllThingsD and Drew Olanoff over at TechCrunch.

As Twitter has begun cracking down on third parties that violate its terms of service, it could be that IFTTT is trying to deflect its months of wrongdoing by leading users to believe it has become just another victim of Twitter’s API update. Either way, it’s the users that have come to rely on this service (me included) that suffer.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic