Attention Developers: Twitter Restricts Access to API

In what some believe is a move to edge out smaller developers, Twitter announced yesterday that it will stop whitelisting developer requests for unrestricted access to their API. This could be a temporary measure, or it could be a move that signals that Twitter is hoping developers begin to pay for access to a larger chunk of the Twitter stream – or don’t access it at all.

In the past, Twitter would approve requests sent by developers for extended access to its API. This access would grant developers the ability to work with a larger stream of tweets than typically available.

Last night, however, Ryan Sarver, a Twitter representative informed the developer community that any new or pending requests for this access to the API would not be granted. Any application currently approved would remain so, but new ones need not apply.

Sarver notes that:

“…we’ve added new, more efficient tools for developers, including lookups, ID lists, authentication and the Streaming API. Instead of whitelisting, developers can use these tools to create applications and integrate with the Twitter platform.”

He suggests using the new tools that Twitter has developed, or purchasing access to the larger stream of information through Gnip if it is absolutely necessary for app development.

Regular Geek sees this move as a signal that Twitter sees its developer ecosystem as “big enough”. They believe that Twitter does not feel the need to support new developers, so they are edging them out or limiting their capabilities within the API.

However, Business Insider suggests that this might be a temporary measure meant to prevent scaling issues that Twitter has been notorious for in the past. By restricting access to the API for a time, Twitter can focus on engineering on its side, while third party apps cool down on heavy API use.