Popular Third-Party Twitter Clients Have Been Broken Since Last Night blog.iconfactory.com

The Iconfactory:

Last night at about 7:30pm PST, Twitterrific customers started reporting problems accessing Twitter via the iOS app.

News quickly spread on Twitter and Mastodon that a wide range of third party apps like Twitterrific, Tweetbot, Echofon, and many others had been disabled. Strangely, Twitterrific for macOS continues to work normally. We cannot say for certain why some clients are unaffected, but it seems possible that there is a new (seemingly unstated and unannounced) policy that is only being applied to apps with large numbers of users.

It has now been about eighteen hours since some third-party Twitter clients began throwing errors without any public communication from its mercurial owner, any of the official company accounts, or — apparently — any private news to developers. The apps I most often use no longer appear in my connected apps list.

Given Twitter’s ownership, I am not surprised by the lack of an announcement or even acknowledgement of this problem, but I am concerned. Is it a bug? Is it deliberate — a way to force people to use the official app with ads and its algorithmically-sorted timeline? Is it related to the API vulnerability that reportedly led to the disclosure of personal data for hundreds of millions of Twitter users, a claim which Twitter disputes? It sure feels like it could be any of these options. While fears about Twitter’s sudden demise were overstated, it sure looks from the outside like the foundations of the platform are crumbling.

Update: According to Erin Woo of the Information — as summarized by Abner Li of 9to5Google and John Gruber — this move was made deliberately but without any public communication. It is offensive to developers to leave them in the dark, and shows the contempt the new management has for many of Twitter’s most ardent and supportive users.