Elon Musk says Twitter will provide free write-only API for bots delivering ‘good’ content • TechCrunch

Last week, Twitter announced that it was shutting down free access to its APIs starting February 9. Now, a few days before the deadline, Elon Musk has said that due to the comments, Twitter will provide a write-only API for “bots providing good free content”. ”

This decision is as opaque as some of the other policy decisions under Musk’s leadership. There is no information on what constitutes “good content” and who will decide.

Previously, Twitter closed API access to third-party customers saying they broke a “longstanding rule” without any specification. Then the company silently updated its Developer Terms to state that the app may not “use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create any substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter apps.”

Following the announcement, many developers who mocked the bots criticized the decision saying that their automation provided people with free content and, in turn, improved services. Last week, Buzzfeed interviewed several bot developers who were unhappy with the decision. These include @_restaurant_bot who tweets random pictures of restaurants and @_weather_bot_which tweets images from different locations with weather updates.

At this time, it is unclear whether accounts like @BigTechAlertwho tweets about big tech leaders and organizations who follow and don’t follow each other, will be eligible for this free tier as they might need to scan account information.

Darius Kazemi, a developer who made over 80 robots and even hosted a bot developer summit in 2016, told TechCrunch on a call that these bot accounts have been a staple of Twitter for years. He said some of these bots with thousands of followers bring joy to many people on a daily basis.

He mentioned that it would be expensive to maintain these bots that provide free content to the platform

“I have over 80 bots on Twitter, so I would need several thousand dollars to maintain them every year and I can’t afford that kind of money,” he said.

Even though Twitter gives minimal free API access to content provider bots, it still leaves student developers and researchers who may not have the budget to pay a monthly fee.


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