Twitter has now made it absolutely clear that developers should stop even trying to comply with its new API rules because the social media site wants to own everything that happens on it. After last week's awkward kind-of break-up with Tumblr and Instagram, Twitter has stopped showing which third-party client a tweet came from on its site. What looks like a small design change, eliminating "via wherever" from the bottom of a tweet, sends a loud and clear message to developers: Twitter wants to own Twitter. This was "the only real way developers" could market their apps, Loic Le Mur, the founder of LeWeb and Seesmic (one of the affected third-party Twitter clients), explained on Twitter. But, beyond that, it shows Twitter's commitment to the total scrubbing of third party apps -- something MacWorld editorial director Jason Snell predicts will get worse. "You think Twitter hiding the 'posted by' status is bad? Wait until all tweets by third-party clients are hidden by default! ;-)," he tweeted following the news.
This is all part of Twitter's plan to get its users to use Twitter-things, rather than other-things, which all started when it updated its API rules a few weeks ago. Back then, developers grumbled about the changes, but just now we are starting to see that the social network meant it in a very thorough way. When first announced these rules sounded more like an inconvenience than a decree. "It's going to require energy and it's not ideal," Alex Benzer, CEO of SocialShare, told ReadWriteWeb's Adam Popescu. "We're going to have to register for an API key which isn't that big of a deal, but we're going to have to make it work." But, even the companies that were optimistic about Twitter's intentions have started feeling the pain. Tapbots, for example, which wrote a post called DON'T PANIC, has had to pull one of its Tweetbots because it couldn't reach an agreement with Twitter. "We’ve been working with Twitter over the last few days to try to work around this limit for the duration of the beta but have been unable to come up with a solution that was acceptable to them. Because of this we’ve decided its best for us to pull the alpha," a new post explains on the site. Again, it's small, but it shows Twitter's obstinance.
Those simple changes that Twitter made, are starting to have their deadly effects. PandoDaily's Nathaniel Mott likened this strategy to a siege. "Twitter is laying waste to developers, but it isn’t doing so in an overt way. Instead of killing developers — or, at least, their apps — outright, the social network has placed a cap on the number of users that each application can have, the developer’s resources, if you will," he writes. But looking at all the other little moves the company is making, Twitter seems more combative than that. The siege was just step one.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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