In a poorly thought out plan to make Twitter as profitable as possible, Twitter has officially unveiled three new tiers of API access: Free, Basic, and Enterprise. Twitter previously backed off from rescinding free access to the platform’s API after public backlash.
Twitter Dev, an official Twitter account, tweeted the news this morning. While the Free tier is, well, free, it only allows developers access in write-only cases and provides a mere 1,500 tweets each month at the app level. The Basic tier is geared toward hobbyists and will run you $100 per month to publish 3,000 tweets per month and retrieve 10,000 tweets per month. The Enterprise tier is available by application only, and no details were publicly released by Twitter. Twitter will happily let you sign up for the $100 per month Basic tier, but for developers interested in the Free tier (which is probably a majority of them), you will have to explain to Twitter everything you want to do with its data and API.
“Thank you for your patience as we introduce you to our new API access tiers and evolve our Developer Platform,” Twitter Dev wrote. “We are excited for the future of our developer ecosystem and are looking forward to seeing what you build next!”
Twitter is allowing everyone that is using the current API 30 days to switch over to a new tier in order to prevent any hiccups that may occur during the transition. The platform’s ads API will continue to be accessible to pre-approved developers for no additional cost. Twitter Dev further explained that the company is looking for ways to serve those in academia who may need the API for research projects, but urged those researchers toward the Free and Basic tiers in the meantime.
Musk’s Twitter first shifted its attention to API access when the platform booted notable Twitter bots like Tweetbot and Twitterrific in the CEO’s misguided vendetta against bots. Twitter then got on the defensive with the very vague excuse that it was upholding “longstanding API rules,” which were sneakily rewritten after the aforementioned bots were banned.
But to the surprise of no one, Twitter was really interested in keeping the API behind a paywall, and announced that free access to Twitter’s application program interface would sunset on February 9. Also to the surprise of no one, Twitter users were not happy with this decision and forced Twitter to back off.