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Musk's Twitter borks third party apps

by on16 January 2023

Conspiracy or just a lack of staff? 

Supreme Twit Elon [look at me] Musk’s plan to run Twitter with no staff appears to be coming unstuck as the site’s app appears borked, and there is no one around to fix it.

When Musk took over Twitter, he fired most of the staff and wanted those who remained to work long hours to keep things going.

However, nearly every major third-party Twitter client broke on Thursday, and developers say they still haven’t heard anything from the company about what’s happening.

Musk has not taken the time to brag about the issue on Twitter, and Tweetbot co-creator Paul Haddad told Mastodon he was entirely in the dark.

Over the weekend, there were no tweets about the plight of third-party apps from either the official Twitter account, the Twitter Support account, or Elon Musk.

Musk’s “transparency builds trust” mantra has been forgotten, but he did fire his PR department so reporters can guess what is going on.

Apps like Twitterific have since started alerting users to address the outage. “Twitterific users are currently unable to access the service,” the notice reads. “This may just be a temporary bug; it may be a more serious issue.” The Tweetbot app displays a similar message.

Some users, developers, and news outlets say this is a move from Twitter to shut down third-party clients. A senior software engineer message leaked to the media suggests that third-party app suspensions are intentional.

According to The Information, another employee asks when they can get a list of “approved talking points” in response to complaints about third-party apps not working on Friday.

A product marketing manager reportedly replies that Twitter has “started to work on comms” but is unsure when that information will be ready to share with developers.

Haddad says his company will operate under the assumption that the outage is on purpose. The Iconfactory post points out the possibility of “a new (seemingly unstated and unannounced) policy that is only being applied to apps with large numbers of users.”

Some apps like Albatross and Fenix have continued working on iOS, but the Android versions have been axed. The first-party Twitter app is also still functional. Tweetbot briefly came back online on Sunday before it stopped working again.

Third-party apps rely on Twitter’s API to get data from the service, a point that’s been contentious in the past as the company went through a period where it neglected tools for outside developers.


Last modified on 16 January 2023
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