Update (04/08/18): The social network has tweeted some clarification regarding the change. Twitter will delay the scheduled June 19 depreciation date to another time, though it’s not clear as to when that will happen.
“As always, we’re committed to providing ample time to migrate,” tweeted the official Twitter Dev account. Twitter reminds users that it will provide 90 days notice before the depreciation date is scheduled to take place.
Last year we announced our plan to retire Site Streams & User Streams, and replace them with the Account Activity API (currently in beta). We are delaying the scheduled June 19th deprecation date.
— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) April 6, 2018
Original article (04/06/18): We realize that this isn’t the first headline you’ve read over the years that claims Twitter is going to kill off all third-party apps, but this time seems like it’s really going to happen.
According to the Twitter developer’s blog, the company will be removing access to the “streaming services” portion of its API starting on June 19, 2018. What that essentially means is that any app that features a Twitter feed as part of its primary function (like every single app on this list) will no longer be able to send push notifications or automatically refresh the feed.
What’s the point of using a third-party Twitter app if you can’t get notified when someone tweets at you and have to refresh your feed manually?
Exactly. That’s precisely what Twitter is going for. If it can render the third-party apps as being practically useless, it will force people to use the official Twitter app instead.
This isn’t the first time Twitter has tried to limit the power of third-party apps, but it might be the most direct. In 2012, Twitter introduced a token system for its APIs. It’s kind of complicated but here’s a quick summary: the company introduced a rule that limits any third-party Twitter app to only 100,000 users. Once that limit is reached, the app can’t accept new users until some leave.
Twitter is resorting to some dirty tactics to keep third-party apps out of the game.
That’s why there are so many different third-party Twitter apps; once one fills up its token quota, it gets removed from the Google Play Store, and a new one pops up in its place. Just recently, the popular app Flamingo dropped off the Google Play Store when it hit its token quota.
The token quota is still controversial to this day, but this new move to completely eliminate access to the streaming services API is a full-on assault. If it indeed comes to pass on June 19, it will mean certain death for any and all third-party Twitter apps.
To be fair, the official Twitter app has come a long way since its early nigh-on unusable days. But the fact that the company would stoop so low as to forbid competition is not only horrible for PR but is a distinct example of a company that is failing and has to resort to dirty tactics to keep up (see: BlackBerry).
If you rely on a third-party Twitter app and want to voice your frustration over this upcoming change in policy, head to this site that was put together by a bunch of third-party apps. Hopefully, if you yell loud enough, Twitter will reverse its plans.