Twitter Officially Bans Third Party Clients And Dooms Itself In the Process

Engadget last night reported that Twitter has banned third party clients in a move that likely will send many fleeing from the platform and dooming the platform to extinction:

The “restrictions” section of Twitter’s developer agreement was updated Thursday with a clause banning “use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications.” The addition is the only substantive change to the 5,000-word agreement.

The change confirms what the makers of many popular Twitter clients have suspected in recent days: that third-party Twitter services are no longer permitted under Elon Musk’s leadership.

Now if you really want to go into the weeds as to why I think this will doom Twitter to extinction, you can read this writeup on the subject. But here’s the TL:DR for those who want me to get to the point:

Taking away choice from individuals is a sure way to drive them off the platform. But it’s worse if you’re a business. That’s because you may use a third party app to do a deep level of social media monitoring. As in what is the sentiment of your customers? Or are there issues that are trending related to you that you need to address? Even how stuff appears on Twitter is controlled by third party apps that businesses use. That sort of functionality isn’t going to be found in the native Twitter app and businesses would be less than pleased about being forced off the social media tools that they use. In fact, it seems to me that the number of Tweets from brands appearing on Twitter seems to have fallen sharply since this whole thing started. Now that’s just anecdotal to be clear. But if this is actually fact, then Elon has a huge problem on his hands. Revoking these APIs might be the final straw for businesses and advertisers who didn’t immediately head to the exits when Elon took over Twitter. Those businesses and advertisers will quit Twitter, depriving Elon of money and send Twitter into a death spiral that there will be no recovery from.

Elon Musk is about to find out that this move is the wrong one to make. And the day of reckoning is coming very soon with a rather hefty interest payment due at the end of the month with no sign that he can cut that cheque among other issues like advertisers heading to the exits and the potential of governments taking enforcement actions against Twitter. Thus the only conclusion that you can come to is that Twitter is doomed. It’s now a matter of when and not if at this point.

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