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Twitter Moves To Restrict Third Party Developers

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Twitter has decided, that following numerous violations of its Terms of Service, it is going to restrict third-party developers from developing clients which replicate or mimic its own official Twitter clients.

Ryan Sarver, the head of platform and API at Twitter, has said that people get confused when unofficial Twitter clients diverge from the standard design guidelines and usage policy: “Our user research shows that consumers continue to be confused by the different ways that a fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients display tweets and let users interact with core Twitter functions. For example, people get confused by websites or clients that display tweets in a way that doesn’t follow our design guidelines, or when services put their own verbs on tweets instead of the ones used on Twitter.”

The announcement was made on Twitter’s developer mailing list and will no doubt anger a lot of third-party developers who are basically being told to stay away from the timeline format offered by the official Twitter apps. Sarver added that the micro-blogging site has grown from 48 million tweets a day to 140 million a day in the last year. He added that 90 percent of the people who use Twitter do so using an official Twitter apps. Sarver went on to say: “Twitter will provide the primary mainstream consumer client experience on phones, computers, and other devices by which millions of people access Twitter content (tweets, trends, profiles, etc), and send tweets. If there are too many ways to use Twitter that are inconsistent with one another, we risk diffusing the user experience.”

The change in the Terms of Service could mean that apps will no longer be able to display ads in prominent places which would mean that a lot of apps would therefore not be able to survive without the revenue. "We need to ensure that tweets, and tweet actions, are rendered in a consistent way so that people have the same experience with tweets no matter where they are. For example, some developers display "comment", "like", or other terms with tweets instead of "follow, favorite, retweet, reply" - thus changing the core functions of a tweet."

A lot of developers are angry about this move and one of the responses to the post from TJ Luoma sums up the feeling among them: “Translation: Thanks for building apps that made people want to use Twitter. Thanks for putting up with us through the months and months of instability. We'll take over from here. If you want to try to build something around the fringes of Twitter, that's fine, but really, we don't need you anymore. Goodbye."

Source: Twitter Development Talk

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