Developers of disabled third-party Twitter clients ask users to forego refunds

raising / The “I don’t need a refund” button as viewed in the Tweetbot app.


Elon Musk’s “extremely hardcore” version of Twitter suddenly and unexpectedly cut off API access for popular third-party Twitter clients in January, citing an unnamed “long-standing API rules” that apps are apparently violating. The company later revised the developer agreement to prohibit “a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications.”

For the former developers of Tweetbot and Twitterific, two of Twitter’s longest-lived and most popular third-party clients, this means losing their biggest product and revenue streams, and potentially refunding subscribers who suddenly dropped out. can’t use the apps they paid for. .

Tapbots and The Iconfactory (developers of Tweetbot and Twitterrific, respectively) have released a final update for their Twitter apps, walking users through the process of dealing with their expired subscriptions. If users want a prorated refund (back-dated to January 12, the last day both clients operated normally), they don’t need to take action; Both apps will issue prorated refunds to subscribers they haven’t heard from. But the apps also include a button that allows users to opt out of their refunds, allowing developers to keep the money to fund future projects.

“Losing ongoing, recurring revenue from Twitterrific will hurt our business, and any refunds will come directly out of our pockets—not Twitter’s and not Apple’s,” Twitterific’s Sean Heber wrote in a blog post shortly after API access. stopped. “Simply put, thousands of refunds can hurt a small company like ours.”

Users who missed out on their refunds for Tweetbot or Twitterrific can still contact Apple and request a refund later if they change their minds. If you’re a Tweetbot or Twitterific subscriber and you’ve deleted the app, you can download it again to transfer your subscription or not pay a refund.

Tapbots has moved on to a new project called Ivory, an iOS and iPadOS client for the decentralized Mastodon social network that looks and works a lot like Tweetbot before (a macOS client is still in development). Tweetbot users may choose to transfer their remaining Tweetbot subscriptions to Ivory instead of getting or forgoing a refund. Iconfactory has expressed interest in supporting Mastodon and the underlying ActivityPub protocol but as of late January did not have any specific products in development.

Access to the Twitter API is one of the many topics that the flailing Musk-era version of Twitter is struggling to address. Musk first announced that anyone who wants to use the API will have to pay for it, including researchers and automated bot accounts. He later SAYS that a “light, write-only API” could be used “for bots that provide good content for free.” That post was dated February 4, and no other official announcement about API access has been made since then.

“Twitter’s payment for API access plan seems to have been forgotten,” wrote Tapbots co-founder Paul Haddad on Mastodon. “My guess is that they didn’t have anyone to properly implement any of the paid rate limits in the 1.1 API and just gave up on everything.”

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