After asserting final week that every one builders would must pay to entry Twitter’s API, CEO Elon Musk has walked that again a step. In a tweet yesterday, he introduced that “responding to suggestions, Twitter will allow a light-weight, write-only API for bots offering good content material that’s free.” 

Since August of 2020, Twitter has supplied a “primary” free tier as a part of its V2 API, designed for “these simply getting began, constructing one thing for enjoyable, for trigger, and to be taught or educate,” the corporate wrote on the time. 

In January, nonetheless, Twitter revoked API entry to third-party apps citing “long-standing guidelines.” It then up to date its developer phrases banning third-party shoppers, successfully killing apps like Twitterific and Tweetbot. Lastly final week, Twitter introduced that every one builders must pay to make use of its API, beginning at round $100 per thirty days for the fundamental tier. 

That resulted in an outcry that the brand new guidelines would kill many enjoyable and helpful bots that create quotes round tweets, present alerts for tech execs unfollowing one another, present the climate in random components of the world and extra. Lots of the people who run the bots informed Buzzfeed they might by no means pay that quantity to maintain them working, so that they’d merely disappear. “It was a enjoyable factor, a factor that truly supplied Twitter with extra worth,” mentioned the individual behind @BigTechAlert, Álex Barredo.

It is unclear if Musk’s Twitter will use one thing like the present primary tier. Additionally left unsaid up to now is what would possibly represent “good content material.” If approval is required for every bot, that may very well be a problem contemplating the corporate’s severely downsized moderation crew. 

Musk has been on a mission to chop prices and discover new sources of income for Twitter, after telling staff at one level that “chapter is just not out of the query.” Round 80 p.c of the corporate’s full-time employees have been let go, leaving simply 1,300 in complete and fewer than 550 full-time engineers. On the similar time, Twitter has launched subscriptions and detailed plans to share advert income with creators.

Nevertheless, Musk not too long ago tweeted that Twitter is “now trending to breakeven,” following a number of “extraordinarily powerful” months. The corporate nonetheless faces challenges, nonetheless, like advertisers reportedly fleeing in droves, class-action fits from staff and potential regulator scrutiny within the EU and elsewhere.

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