Elon Musk’s Twitter may have intentionally broken third-party apps, leading developers to rage at the recent changes.
Almost since it began, Twitter has intentionally allowed people to access tweets through a variety of different platforms, many of which are made by third-party developers. In some cases, those apps have even become part of the official offering – with the official Twitter app beginning life as a third-party one called Tweetie.
But Elon Musk appears to have ended that support as one of a number of changes made since he became chief executive of the platform.
Since last week, some of the biggest third-party apps have been unable to load tweets. In recent days, reports have suggested that was an intentional decision, presumably done to encourage users to use Twitter’s first-party and official clients.
That has provoked rage from the third-party developers who have created standalone apps that rely on the platform to work. Those developers had initially expressed confusion and concern as their apps stopped working – but have now taken against Twitter as the changes appear intentional.
“Personally, I’m done. And with a vengeance,” wrote Twitterrific developer Craig Hockenberry in a blog post addressing the changes. He suggested that users should move away from Twitter in protest at the changes.
“What bothers me about Twitterrific’s final day is that it was not dignified,” he wrote. “There was no advance notice for its creators, customers just got a weird error, and no one is explaining what’s going on.
“We had no chance to thank customers who have been with us for over a decade. Instead, it’s just another scene in their ongoing shit show.”
He noted that he has been active on Mastodon since Elon Musk took over Twitter, and encouraged users to go there instead. Many third-party Twitter app developers have looked to build Mastodon apps instead.
Paul Haddad, the creator of Twitter app Tweetbot, shared that post from Mr Hockenberry on Mastodon. He also said in a post on that site that he was sure the change was intentional and “we and others were specifically targeted”.
“Oh well, on to smaller but greener pastures,” he wrote.
Twitter is yet to give any public information about the problem. Updates are now typically announced through Elon Musk’s personal Twitter account, but he has not discussed the outage, despite tweeting about other changes to the platform alongside a range of other topics.
However, internal conversations have suggested that the company had made the decision to intentionally shut down certain third-party clients, according to a report in The Information. The company is working on a way to communicate that with the public, it reported.