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Why you should consider removing your Twitter feed from your website

Last month Twitter finally shut off its free application programming interface (API) without warning, which meant feeds broke on many apps and websites.

It impacted even some of the biggest companies, with organisations like WordPress, Echobox and Flipboard posting about it.

Twitter’s free API function is being replaced by tiers that you have to pay for, which means a lot of organisations won’t be able to continue having an API feed.

What happened?

Twitter originally said it would cut off all free access to its API feeds in February 2023, but this was delayed. It then didn’t provide any kind of timeline for the shut off, choosing to start cutting thousands of developers off in April without warning.

It left a lot of developers trying to understand what was happening as Twitter didn’t seem to communicate the changes at all.

This may be because a lot of Twitter’s developer relations employees lost their jobs when Elon Musk let around half of the staff go in November last year. Musk cut around 7,500 jobs and the lay offs continued into 2023.

What will actually change?

The functionality is breaking for any apps or websites that used to use Twitter’s API to enable content sharing to and from Twitter.

For example, in early April, WordPress announced that it couldn’t access API meaning its websites were no longer able to automatically share posts to Twitter.

Twitter bot developers have also discovered they’ve been impacted. Cheap Bots Done Quick, which enables people to create bots for Twitter, reported being cut off from the API last month too. Twitter said its extremely limited free tier for API will allow bots to continue but developers have argued that the 1,500 tweets a month limit is far too constraining.

Why you should consider removing your feed

Many organisations will see their API functionality has been cut off and simply let that be the end of the road, especially if they don’t feel like the benefits of paying for it will be worth it.

Plus, there’s still questions about what each tier gives you and how much they cost.

TechCrunch reported that there’s an extremely limited free tier, a basic tier for $100 a month and an enterprise tier. The price of the enterprise tier is still uncertain, but there are concerns it will be wildly unaffordable, with Wired reporting that it could cost around $500,000 a year.

The free tier reportedly provides just 1,500 post requests a month and with access to Login with Twitter, while the basic tier is very limited compared with what you used to be able to get for free. There has been very little information about what the enterprise tier will provide, just that it will be the only way of accessing more data.

Other changes at Twitter

This shake comes right after Twitter suddenly made another big change, banning third-party clients.

With the aim of mixing up its developer strategy, it made another quiet change in January 2023, updating its developer agreement so that app makers can no longer create their own clients.

The restrictions section of the Twitter developer agreement was updated, with the new clause banning the ability to “use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications”.

What now?

With these changes at Twitter coming in thick and fast, and often with very little warning or information about them, it might be a good time to consider how your company is using the platform.

You may have had an API feed on your website for a long time, but ask yourself, is it still useful? What are you gaining from it and could you replace it with something more beneficial and less expensive? Could you simply remove it?

Talking of alternatives, this Twitter announcement comes as the launch of a new platform is on the horizon. Bluesky is a decentralised social network which, when it first came about in 2019, was actually supposed to be the end goal for Twitter. That didn’t end up happening and Bluesky became its own independent entity which, when it launches, will be a massive framework for an open and decentralized social media. You can already join the waiting list to try the beta version before the new platform launches officially.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s a good opportunity to have a website refresh and decide what’s still working for you, and what’s not.

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