The social network has announced that it will stop providing free access to its API for outside developers. Even though “API restriction” doesn’t necessarily sound like a big deal, this latest update has users worried about Twitter again. What this means, in layman’s terms, is that unless the administrator of the site’s countless automated accounts pays to continue using them, they will all stop working.
Researchers who use Twitter’s API to gather public data will also be hampered by this change unless they pay. Many Twitter users are complaining about the update because they believe it will have a profound impact on the site’s culture.
Just what is an application programming interface (API), then?
The abbreviation “API” refers to an infrastructure for programmatic interaction and communication. To put it another way, third-party developers can build applications for social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Twitter’s application programming interface (API) can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including but not limited to “moderate conversations for health and safety,” “enable creation and personal expression,” “measure and analyse what’s happening,” and more.
Examples of this kind of work on the platform include automated accounts. One common use of an API is the creation of automated social media accounts, such as those that tweet regular reminders to drink water or random pictures of possums.
When it comes to making content more accessible, some have turned to Twitter’s API to add features like alt text and image descriptions. Other features, such as thread readers and reminders, make it easier for users to bookmark and return to previously viewed content.
Is there any way Twitter could be different if API access was limited?
Many of these accounts have since lamented on Twitter that they will be shut down when the policy takes effect on February 9. Twitter’s Dev account teased that next week would bring more information, and CEO Elon Musk said in a separate tweet that charging “just $100/month for API access with ID verification will clean” up what he called abuse of the API.
Users argue that even though accounts that tweet “Lord of the Rings” quotes or make site navigation easier aren’t the platform’s backbone, they contribute to the social experience that has become ubiquitous.
It is common knowledge that public data stored in a digital record is extremely valuable for research, marketing, and other purposes, and APIs make it possible for people to create searches for this data. Concerns have been raised by some users about the impact of the changes to API access on their daily activities.
A publicly available API is nothing out of the ordinary for a platform of Twitter’s size, as it encourages more people to use the service and fosters a relationship that can be profitable for the firm. According to industry experts, Twitter’s move to charge for API access is just the latest in a series of attempts to increase revenue since Musk assumed leadership of the company.