LowEndBox - Cheap VPS, Hosting and Dedicated Server Deals

Twitterrific: Please Don't Ask for a Refund

Twitter ClicktivismLast week, Twitter turned off API access for many third-party apps without any explanation.  There was unofficial confirmation (if such a thing can exist) via a quoted internal Slack comment, but of course Elon Musk fired all of Twitter’s communication department and so there is no official voice on this.  The new policy has since been outed in a revised developer agreement.

This change broke many third-party apps.  The reason this was done?  Well, of course, there is no official reason given but it’s widely perceived as a way to make sure that every tweet has a Twitter-financing ad next to it.  Third party apps that have access to the raw data can let Twitter users interact with the site without ads (or with other ads), which makes Musk mad.  It shouldn’t, which is strange – read on.

In this case, you have apps and perhaps entire business built on API access.  Consider this: anyone can use the official Twitter app (or web site) for free, however people are willing to pay money to use an alternate UI.  That’s not just ad-blocking, which they could do with a number of third-party ad-blocking services, a Pi Hole, etc.

We might be tempted to conclude that third-party paid-for apps have thrived because Twitter’s UI was poor, and that may well be the case.  But it may simply be the reality that no UI is pleasant for everyone.  The most passionate Android, iOS, Windows, or macOS users can certainly name things about their chosen interface that they would change if they could.  Twitterrific and others identified a desire from users for something different and supplied it.

Unfortunately, Twitter believes it didn’t financially benefit when that happened – indeed, they feel they suffered, which is strange.  The business model is supposed to work like this: the data (tweets) has value, and if you want access you can either (1) use the officially provided Twitter interfaces and view ads, or (2) you can use the API, which has a fee depending on what (and how much) you’re doing.  So Twitter should financially benefit regardless.

This means that either Twitter’s API pricing is screwed up, or the benefit to showing ads is not entirely recouped in the API cost.  I think Twitter has decided that being able to tell advertisers they serve ads to X million people is more important than the revenue they get from selling API access.  This may well be true, but there are better ways to accomplish this, such as acquiring these third-party apps or requiring them to show ads.

But that’s not Musk’s way.  That would require reaching out to the community and collaborating with users…which sure doesn’t sound like Twitter 2.0.

The Twitterrific developers (Icon Factory) posted a plea:

Finally, if you were subscriber to Twitterrific for iOS, we would ask you to please consider not requesting a refund from Apple. The loss of ongoing, recurring revenue from Twitterrific is already going to hurt our business significantly, and any refunds will come directly out of our pockets – not Twitter’s and not Apple’s. To put it simply, thousands of refunds would be devastating to a small company like ours.

On the one hand, sure, you’re a consumer who purchased a product and now it doesn’t work and you’re entitled and yadda yadda.  But c’mon, it’s $2.99 and if you’re part of the global elite whose day partially consists of look at social media on your smartphone…maybe you shrug, flip Elon off, and get on with your life.

Like, you know, finding a new social media network.




  1. RuhNet:

    It’s fascinating to me the weird disdain from people that Elon Musk gets for making effort to turn a floundering trash-heap house-of-cards company into something else that is profitable for himself and his investors. Now, what he is actually turning Twitter into is of course largely yet to be seen, but the undertoned (or in many cases blatant) expression of entitlement and emotional ownership that many people express when analyzing his methods is, well, absurd. I mean, the guy spent his _own_ money, and the money of his investors, who clearly had and have faith in his ability to make [overall] good decisions, to buy the company outright. So yeah, he and his team make changes that affect other people and businesses (both negatively and positively)—as does ANY company. In this case of API access, if I or my company used Twitter’s API, yeah I’d be disgruntled, especially if I was using the API to make money for free (which could be justifiably called being a parasite). But, that’s the risk that is taken when using a service which is not guaranteed to be there with contracts, etc. Any business worth it’s salt and with a smidgen of forethought and intelligence would have recognized this as a risk when building their app to begin with, long before Musk took over Twitter. Oh well…

    January 20, 2023 @ 3:19 pm | Reply
  2. gord:

    That profile pic of Musk reminds me of Frankie Howerd. Twitter not !!!

    January 20, 2023 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

Leave a Reply

Some notes on commenting on LowEndBox:

  • Do not use LowEndBox for support issues. Go to your hosting provider and issue a ticket there. Coming here saying "my VPS is down, what do I do?!" will only have your comments removed.
  • Akismet is used for spam detection. Some comments may be held temporarily for manual approval.
  • Use <pre>...</pre> to quote the output from your terminal/console, or consider using a pastebin service.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *