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Twitter comments on recent changes in the API … but does not solve anything

today: after an announcement after a controversial one, an apology that proved to be just a postponement and updates for the worse of two of the network’s main customers, the controversial changes in the API of Twitter finally begin to take effect. With that, the bird basically kills the functionality of famous applications like Tweetbot and Twitterrific, which, of course, is causing revolt in a portion of its users.

To (try) to cool down the community, Twitter posted a text on its official blog, signed by the senior director of solutions in business data Rob Johnson, speaking a little more frankly on the subject. The problem is, they're not going to change their minds, apparently.

Johnson explains that the idea of ​​“offering the best Twitter experience” in his official apps and website:

We feel that the best Twitter experience we can offer today is in our iOS and Android apps, as well as on twitter on the desktop and mobile devices. We have believed in this for a long time and have been focused on delivering the best experience for our apps and websites for years. New features and configuration improvements (many of which are possible in Twitter's own apps) include:

  • Better organization of tweets to mitigate behavior of trolls;
  • More aggressive control of our guidelines during live streams;
  • Faster ways to find tweets and relevant videos;
  • Consistent browsing and engagement counts on tweets in real time;
  • Control over your data;
  • Improved accessibility support;
  • Controls over notifications and DMs.

The executive then explains that, in order to focus on these improvements, it was necessary to take the decision to remove support for tools for developers that allowed third-party customers to function. He adds that the network is grateful for the developers who have built these apps over the years and that users will still be able to use these apps with “minimal changes” (I wouldn't say that the loss of notifications and access to DMs is a “minimal change”, but who am I to speak).

Johnson also states that, for professionals or advanced users who need specialized tools in the administration and use of Twitter, the network will continue to invest in TweetDeck, the client only for desktops with several of the features that the other apps just lost but that does not exist for mobile and some users do not like it.

The content of the text posted openly on the Twitter blog comes down to that, but in an internal letter to employees of the network obtained by TechCrunch, Johnson goes a little further on the reasons for the changes, citing the company's economic instability and an effort that would not be worth continuing to implement. As the executive states:

Now is the time to make the difficult decision to withdraw support for these old APIs knowing that some aspects of these (third party) apps would degrade as a result. Today, we are facing technical and business order limitations that we cannot ignore. The APIs for User Streams and Site Streams that enabled the resources of these customers to function have been in beta for over nine years, and have been built on top of technologies that we no longer support. We are not changing the rules, or deciding to "kill" third party customers, but we are killing, due to an operational need, some of the old APIs that make it possible for some of these customers to function. And it is not a realistic option for us today to invest in building a new service to replace these APIs, which are used by less than 1% of Twitter developers.

He also mentions that, since the beginning of the bird's network, the general incentive has always been that developers build solutions that do not imitate the central Twitter experience, but are based on expansions and enrichments of this experience, that is, basically “we warn” . Johnson further states that the company is constantly monitoring the hashtag #BreakingMyTwitter, used by users disgusted with change, to understand people's dissatisfaction and offer the best possible alternatives for them.

In all this talk, Johnson and Twitter do not cite one of the fundamental reasons for changing the API, which is the money generated by advertising displayed on the official channels of the network. As is well known, third-party customers do not display advertisements or tweets promoted and remain with the structure in strictly chronological order that made the bird's network so famous, which is no longer a sustainable model for a company that goes so badly financially speaking, it would be good, then, that at least they were honest about To this.

Developer Dave Verwer said something interesting about it on Twitter in response to Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser:

Cabel: Serious question. This is obviously why Twitter doesn't want third-party customers to be fair! But why don't they just say? “We need to make money” is so simple but they do everything they can to not say that. Surely the phrase would not bother investors, and (some) users (maybe) if they sympathized, right?

Verwer: Even better, they could extend the API to include tweets promoted and institute policies on their exhibitions. I know that the exhibition of tweets promoted much more complex in terms of when, where and to whom they are shown, which explains why they did not do it.

For now, things continue as announced. sad, because personally speaking Twitter is my favorite social network and I do not like to imagine a world in which it is left to the traces, like Orkut, due to wrong decisions. Let's see where it all goes