Twitter offers weak-sauce response to blocking third-party apps

Tweetbot on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

Social network Twitter has finally responded to last week’s news that it had blocked third-party apps from accessing its API. And the response leaves a lot to be desired.

Developers and users of apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific found last week that their apps could no longer connect to Twitter, but the social network didn’t offer any explanation as to what was happening. It was hoped that a simple outage was to blame, but it’s now clear that the move was intentional.

Twitter’s developer relations account finally shared details on what is going on yesterday, but the response hasn’t been well received and lacks any real information at all.

Rules? What Rules? 

In a tweet now widely questioned by app developers, users, and tech commentators, the Twitter Dev account simply tweeted that the company “is enforcing its long-standing API rules” without actually saying what those rules are. It then went on to say that it “may result in some apps not working,” ignoring the fact that it absolutely would. And again, nobody knows what those rules are.

The responses to the tweet were quick and brutal, with many simply asking for clarification on what rules were broken. So far, nobody appears to have received a response.

Tweetbot developer Tapbots tweeted to say that the app “has been around for over 10 years, we’ve always complied with the Twitter API rules.” It also added that “If there's some existing rule that we need to comply with, we'd be happy to do so, if possible. But we do need to know what it is.”

At the time of writing, Twitter is yet to confirm what rules have been broken. Perhaps because it’s still making them up.

For now, fans of third-party apps are stuck using the official Twitter app which few would say is the best option available in the App Store. Right now you can treat yourself to the best iPhone Apple sells and still have to use the worst Twitter app on it.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.