Twitter To End Free Access To Its API

Twitter will discontinue offering free access to the Twitter API starting February 9 and will launch a paid version, the Elon Musk-owned microblogging website said as it looks for more avenues to monetize the platform, TechCrunch reported.

In a series of tweets, the Twitter Developer account said the firm will be ending support for both legacy and v.1.1 and the new v2 of its Twitter APIs. According to TechCrunch, Twitter did not immediately say how much it plans to charge for API usage.

The move follows Twitter abruptly changing the terms of its API in recent weeks that were used by many popular Twitter clients such as Tweetbot and Twitterific. Most third-party Twitter apps have shut down their mobile apps.

“Twitter data are among the world’s most powerful data sets. We’re committed to enabling fast & comprehensive access so you can continue to build with us,” Twitter Dev account said Thursday. “Over the years, hundreds of millions of people have sent over a trillion Tweets, with billions more every week.”

TechCrunch also reported that researchers also use the Twitter API. Twitter’s new announcement might impact research in different areas including hate speech and online abuse. Universities often use Twitter to study human behavior in different regions.

Financial Times reported that Twitter has begun applying for regulatory licenses across the US and designing the software required to introduce payments across the social media platform, as Elon Musk searches for new revenues to turn around the business.

According to Financial Times, these moves to allow payments through the site are a critical part of Musk’s plan to open up fresh revenue streams. Twitter’s $5bn-a-year advertising business has cratered since he bought the platform for $44bn in October, with marketers citing concerns over its management and content moderation.

Financial Times also reported that Musk has said he wants Twitter to offer fintech services such as peer-to-peer transactions, saving accounts and debit cards, as part of a master plan to launch an “everything app” that incorporates messaging, payments and commerce.

Engadget reported that developers will soon have to pay Twitter to be able to use its API. Twitter will launch a “paid basic tier”, but the company has yet to reveal how much it would cost.

If I’m understanding this correctly, at this moment, Twitter is hoping that app developers will choose to pay Twitter … for whatever amount Twitter eventually reveals. I suspect that most developers will choose not to pay for Twitter’s API and will leave the social media site.

If the developers refuse to pay for access to Twitter’s API, Mr. Musk is going to look elsewhere to monetize Twitter. My concern is that he will start charging Twitter users a fee for using the platform.