Come June 19, 2018, or thereabouts, Twitter will be stopping its streaming API. That's the application programming interface developers of third-party Twitter apps, including twitter clients and web services, used to refresh timelines and send push notifications. Twitter will be providing a new Account Activity API to replace it, but not much is known about it and time is running out for developers to be granted access so they can implement it quickly enough to avoid interruptions in service. That uncertainty is what's leading Favstar, the popular service for seeing which of your tweets were the most favorited and discovering other highly favorited tweets, to shut down.
Just like it's never safe to scurry beneath the feet of uncaring (or just plain clumsy) giants, it's never safe to build your service on Twitter (or Facebook or Google, for that matter). If it's a valuable service, there's always the chance the tech giant will want to own it for themselves. In the best case, they buy you out for some serious cash. In the worst case, they simply copy your value and make it native.
If it's not a valuable service, even if it's a beloved one, the tech giant might just end your access to its users, social graph, or other data. And then you're done.
You can say the tech giants are well within their rights to do what they want with their services. And fair enough. But many of these relationships are symbiotic and the third-parties provide experiences that, in turn, elevates the tech giant.
Twitter, infamously, achieved a lot of early success, in part, thanks to the work of third-party developers. Then it got big, decided to focus less on tech and more on the mainstream, advertising, and entertainment, and began starving out third-parties. These days, Twitter simply seems like it has no idea what it is or what it wants to do.
And Favstar is just the latest victim. There will likely be. more.
Thank you, Tim.
If you used Favstar, let me know — how do you feel about it being shut down?
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.