The true effects of charging for the Twitter API

The true effects of charging for the Twitter API

The Twitter Dev team recently announced that the Twitter API would be paid from February 13th onward to stop bots but it affects genuine devs too...

It's been a controversial topic between developers on Twitter ever since it was announced. Removing the free plan has concerned many developers who run SaaS products that rely on the Twitter API, as well as frustrating many who were looking to integrate the API into their upcoming projects.

On February 2nd, Official Twitter Developers account @TwitterDev posted a tweet announcing the drastic upcoming changes for the API

The tweet explains that all versions of Twitter's API will now be paid from the 9th of February which was later announced late on the 8th that the date would be pushed back to the 13th, the following Monday.

Twitter calls the new option 'A paid basic tier', an ambiguous title with little idea of the price that this will come at; something that developers across Twitter have expressed their frustration towards, not knowing whether they will be able to keep their products running with the new pricing coming into place. Rumours have shown that this price is likely to be around $100/month, vastly contrasting the idea most of us had of a $10/month plan or lower, instead massively pricing most current Twitter API users out of the market for API access past the 13th.

The tweet posted late on the 8th of February contains a thread explaining what will be changing, so let's look at that...

The first tweet in the thread confirms the $100/month fee and immediately that feels expensive, especially when Twitter label it 'basic' and 'low level of API usage', suggesting that you won't get much even at that eye-watering fee.

Twitter mention a new form of free access, a good sign for many, before being let down, hearing that this is for tweet creation only, but not a bad offer with 1500 tweets per month for each authenticated user token!

Later Twitter mention yet another change to remove more plans, saying that as well as the free plan being scrapped, the premium plan will join it on its way out, with Twitter advising anyone who currently relies on the Premium API to apply for the Enterprise level instead.

All in all the developer team at Twitter titles this a 'new chapter for the Twitter API', claiming that it will reduce spam, improve quality, and enable a thriving ecosystem - who knows what they intend to mean by this?

At the end of the day, it's clear despite this clarity or lack thereof still isn't enough for developers and I believe it's put perfectly by Brett Banditelli on Twitter:

With user content being the product at Twitter - why limit the user?

With new pricing for the API still to be decided across the board as the changes sit just 4 days away, it's safe to say current API users are uncertain of their products' futures.

The question many are asking though is despite the positive wording is this really all to improve Twitter, or is it another way to make up for lost cash.

The one thing we can be sure of right now is that the futures of user-made products that integrate with Twitter are uncertain.

What're your thoughts on the changes to the Twitter API, are you concerned or do you think this will have a positive impact, or are you stuck on the fence?