On Thursday evening, third-party Twitter clients stopped working in a move that many have come to conclude was intentional. A report now confirms that this was the case.
According to The Information today, a senior Twitter engineer internally communicated this week that the “Third-party app suspensions are intentional.” Other internal (Slack) communications seen by the publication reveal that Twitter is working on “approved talking points” for partners, but it’s not clear when they would be ready. That “3party clients revoked access” exchange occurred on Friday morning, and it’s unclear whether that information is for impacted third-party developers or advertisers.
Since then, Twitter, including the usually vocal Elon Musk, have not announced the removal of third-party apps. The company has no PR team, while developers of those clients have been similarly kept in the dark, and have resorted to their own messages explaining the situation.
The Information notes that “most of Twitter’s employees, including most people working on Twitter’s developer platforms” have been laid off.
For a time, third-party Twitter clients were considered a “UI design playground” and coincided with the rise of smartphones. After that period, Twitter locked down and restricted the number of users clients could have, and that led to a chill in new apps. The aim of getting users to experience Twitter via the official apps was the same then as it is today, but Twitter never completely blocked access. Before the Elon Musk acquisition, relations between Twitter and third-party developers improved with new features for the APIs.
Moving forward, it’s unclear whether that embrace of third-party apps will return as revenue and ads is the key drive of Musk-owned Twitter. The CEO is said to be approving changes personally, and has announced a spate of upcoming changes to the experience meant to drive engagement. The tweaks do make sense from a UX standpoint, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to keep people on the social network in light of other things, like an uptick in advertising.
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