Twitter officially bans all third-party apps [Update]

Twitter confirmed this week that it no longer allows third-party developers to create Twitter clients, the information being tacitly shared in an updated developer agreement spotted by Engadget. A new clause under Restrictions states that developers will not be able to “create a replacement or similar service or product for the Twitter Applications.”

This wording effectively bans all third-party apps like Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Aviary, Echofon, Birdie, and others, making it clear that third-party Twitter apps are not coming back at this point.

Last Thursday, Twitter stopped API access for major Twitter clients like Tweetbot, causing them to stop working, but didn’t provide an explanation at the time as to why the APIs suddenly became unavailable. Twitter was silent until Tuesday, when it cryptically said it was “enforcing its longstanding API rules,” a change that could cause some apps to stop working.

Third-party developers never received a notice from Twitter or a warning about the shutdown, and Twitter never offered any insight into the API rules that might have been violated. As it turns out, Twitter is implementing a policy change that simply blocks third-party clients.

All popular Twitter clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific no longer work, and the Twitter users who depended on these apps must now use the official Twitter app on iOS or Android, or the Twitter experiences on the web. Turning off third-party Twitter apps allows Twitter to serve ads to all users on its platforms.

Third-party Twitter apps have been around for more than a decade, and they’ve been a popular choice for those unfamiliar with the standard Twitter interface. There have long been complaints about Twitter’s own app and web experience, with third-party clients able to offer a much tastier UI for many.

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Little did the developers know their revenue streams would be cut, and they were unable to notify customers who had paid for their apps about the closure. Since Twitter does not have a communications team, little else is known about this situation.

The developers behind Twitterrific confirmed that the Twitterrific apps for iOS and Mac have been pulled from Apple’s app stores starting today. As of this afternoon, Twitterrific for Mac was still functional as third-party Twitter clients had not performed consistently.

We’re sorry to say that the app’s sudden and undignified demise was due to an unannounced and undocumented policy change by an increasingly capricious Twitter – a Twitter we no longer trust and no longer wish to work with.

Twitterrific subscriptions across iOS have been canceled and Twitterrific is asking subscribers not to seek a refund from Apple as the loss of Twitterrific revenue will have a significant impact on business and thousands of refunds could be devastating.

To update: Tweetbot was also shut down as a result of Twitter’s ban. Tweetbot maker Tapbots will move to development on Mastodon client Ivory.