Twitter's been kind of distant lately, what with all their new rules and everything, and now they're sort-of breaking up with Tumblr. But Tumblr doesn't want them to break up because they've been together for so long, and this was all so out of the blue. Things are very complicated right now.
On Wednesday afternoon, Buzzfeed's Matt Buchanan put on his robe and wizard hat and tried to figure out which companies were going to feel the wrath of Twitter because of the company's new privacy guidelines everyone's worked up over. "Currently, when you sign up, Tumblr offers to poke through who you're following on Twitter, giving it access to your follow and interest data. This is data that Twitter does not want it to have, particularly as they've effectively both become media companies," he explained.
Buchanan already knows he's right, because shortly after his post went up The Next Web reported Twitter isn't allowing Tumblr to use their 'Find Friends' app anymore. Tumblr users can still send their posts out using a built-in widget, but they're no longer allowed to search for their followers' Tumblrs. In a statement, Tumblr played the mom card and said they were 'truly disappointed,' by Twitter's decision. "Given our history of embracing their platform, this is especially upsetting. Our syndication feature is responsible for hundreds of millions of tweets, and we eagerly enabled Twitter Cards across 70 million blogs and 30 billion posts as one of Twitter’s first partners," Tumblr said, rehashing the good times of the relationship. Elsewhere, some Twitter staffers aren't pleased with how the company's been handling the break up. Twitter engineer Alex Choi told the New York Times' Nick Bilton that "this @tumblr business just stinks," after Bilton defended the move.
So, why? Why break up now instead of later? Twitter's staying tight lipped. They pointed to the same statement they gave when they pulled the same feature from Instagram. Like, Twitter's actual response to this was, "see our Instagram statement." Which, if you're wondering, says:
“We understand that there’s great value associated with Twitter’s follow graph data, and we can confirm that it is no longer available within Instagram.”
Replace Instagram with Tumblr and you get the drill. This is like getting broken up with via a recycled note. "Dear
Jessica, Tumblr, I think it's time we see other people. It's not you, it's me. I just need my space right now. I need to be independent. Hope we can still hangout, Twitter." That's the note they passed to Tumblr.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.