Starting February 9, Twitter will no longer support free access to the Twitter API, both v2 and v1.1. Any app or site that relies on free API is doomed, long term. With data privacy on the rise and ad revenue declining across the board, I expect more services to begin charging for access.
Now I want to address the impact on end users, particularly through the lens of the recent announcement that Twitter would end free API access.
Starting February 9, we will no longer support free access to the Twitter API, both v2 and v1.1. A paid basic tier will be available instead 🧵— Developers (@XDevelopers) February 2, 2023
Anyone who works with B2B APIs knows how this works. Maybe this will cut down on bots, I don’t really care either way. I was always a little shocked that the Twitter API was completely free, but it did allow many new and interesting tools to be developed.
This is going to be a weather messaging disaster! No more auto Twitter warnings for severe weather. https://t.co/jb44wdeXQ6— Brad Panovich (@wxbrad) February 2, 2023
The Free Ride is Over
It sucks, but for a lot of reasons formerly free things will cost money. Subsidized services will cost more. The alternative is they go away permanently. Any app or site that relies on free APIs is doomed, long term.
Companies have a bad habit of making an API free and easy to use (get them hooked) and then to start charging for access. Worse if the API has any sort of monopoly on data, the vendors often consistently raise prices until integration partners scream UNCLE.
This Twitter API thing really makes me wonder if a walled garden company can ever be compatible with the open web. It is absolutely scandalous they’re shutting off a 15 year old free API— Scott Hanselman 🌮 (@shanselman) February 3, 2023
I question the notion that Twitter was ever part of the “open internet.” Sure, you can share content from anywhere, but it doesn’t show up in search results and it’s rarely a place I go to find an authoritative answer. Rather than a town square, Twitter is more like a global water cooler.
Bring Your Own Key
I get it, people are upset about Twitter API going behind a paywall. But folks, ChatGPT will do the same thing. In fact, I’m already on a PAYG with OpenAI. Likewise, I’m certain that sites like MailBrew will lose access to summarize tweets.
That said, if I could pay for my own API key to power all my existing apps I would gladly do it. Again, like ChatGPT or Azure Cloud or anything else I can always bring my own API key, and I think there is a future value to that.
Bottom line, the end of Dot-Com Bubble 2.0 is the end of free. Either way companies or individuals will need to pay for access. With data privacy on the rise and ad revenue declining across the board, I expect more services to begin charging for access.