Twitter Wants To Charge Bot Creators $100 A Month For API Access

The @TwitterDev account posted a short thread regarding access to Twitter’s API. The thread started with: “We have been busy with some updates to the Twitter API so you can continue to build and innovate with us. We’re excited to announce an extension of the current free Twitter API access through February 13. Here’s what we’re shipping then [thread emoji]”

“Paid basic access that offers low level API usage, and access to Ads API for a $100 monthly fee.”

“A new form of free access will be introduced as this is extremely important to our ecosystem – limited to Tweet creation of up to 1,500 Tweets per month for a single authenticated user token, including Login with Twitter.”

“Also on February 13, we will deprecate the Premium API. If you’re subscribed to Premium, you can apply for Enterprise to continue using these endpoints.”

“This is a new chapter for the Twitter API to increase quality, reduce spam, and enable a thriving ecosystem. We appreciate your patience as we implement these changes and we can’t wait to see what you build next! Stay tuned for more information on continued Twitter API access.”

TechCrunch reported that a week after Twitter made the announcement about shutting down free access to the API, the company will charge $100 per month for the basic tier of API. This will get developers “a low level of API usage” – without specifying what that exactly means – and the Ads API.

According to TechCrunch, the company had planned to shut down free access to its API on February 9, and now it has extended this deadline to February 13. But with no details available around API pricing restructuring and access levels, this extension seems symbolic as developers won’t be able to plan their changes.

TechCrunch also reported that there is a lot of uncertainty around academic research. Under the previous management, the company provided special access to researchers with API v2. However, there is no information that access will be taken away as the social network discontinues its free API tiers. Researchers rely on this data to signal trends around hate speech or misinformation on the platform.

People have also pointed out that engineers building solutions for natural disasters like earthquakes also rely on Twitter API. So discontinuing the free tier will affect those solutions.

Engadget reported that Twitter’s upcoming changes included an update that stated there will be “a new form of free access” that will allow “Tweet creation of up to 1,500 Tweets per month.”

According to Engadget, this clarification means that many of Twitter’s “good” bots – the automated accounts that tweet everything from historical photos to helpful reminders – will be able to continue on the platform. Previously, the future of these accounts was uncertain as many bot makers said they would not pay for API access.

To me, this looks like Elon Musk’s way of generating Twitter’s revenue. He is probably hoping that the majority of bot creators will pay $100 a month in order to keep their bots alive. My best guess is that most of them won’t be able to pay that much money a month – for a limited number of tweets. I think this is going to backfire.