If You Needed Any More Confirmation, Internal Slack Messages at Twitter Show That Cutting Off Third-Party Clients Was ‘Intentional’

Some reporter, writing for one very expensive paywalled blog:

The reason for the suspension couldn’t be learned. Speculation on one blog this week raised the possibility that Twitter might have turned off access to the apps deliberately because they don’t help drive ad revenue. At least some don’t show ads that appear on Twitter. That means the apps may be hurting Elon Musk’s ability to stop a major decline in ad revenue in the past two months.

“One blog” was this excellent early report on the outage by Ben Schoon for 9to5Google.

It is of course true that third-party clients didn’t show Twitter’s ads, but Twitter never tried putting those ads into the feeds delivered by the APIs used by third-party clients. And it’s obviously true that third-party Twitter clients weren’t suddenly getting users to switch from Twitter’s first-party clients.

In the day and a half since users started reporting problems with the apps, neither Twitter’s official account nor the Twitter support account have explained what caused the outage, including whether it was deliberate or accidental. Musk also hasn’t commented on his Twitter account.

But a senior software engineer wrote Thursday night that “Third-party app suspensions are intentional,” in an internal Twitter command center Slack channel, used by employees to handle outages and interruptions to Twitter’s services. The engineer declined to comment when contacted by The Information on Saturday afternoon.

The internal messages seen by The Information also show that Twitter employees have been discussing when the decision would be announced publicly. A Twitter employee working on product partnerships asked on Friday morning when employees could expect a list of “approved talking points” for questions from partners related to “3party clients revoked access.”

A product marketing manager responded on Slack that morning that the company had “started to work on comms” but that there was no estimate as to when it would be ready, the messages show.

Twitter can of course do what it wants, and Musk owns Twitter so he can do what he wants. But pulling the plug on these clients and ghosting everyone on communications about it is so absurdly disrespectful. Zero respect for the users for those apps, zero respect for the developers behind them — many of whom had been building on the Twitter platform for 10-15 years. Just a clown show.

Meanwhile, using Twitter’s own apps or website, my @gruber account shows a total of 7 mentions since January 5. Using Twitterrific for Mac — the plug for which has somehow not yet been pulled — I count 239 mentions since January 5.

Twitter’s own first-party service is falling apart.

Saturday, 14 January 2023