Tweetbot & Twitterrific remove features no longer available as Twitter rolls out API updates

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Last December, Twitter announced it would be deprecating access for app developers to its site stream, user stream and some direct messaging features. Twitter’s API platform updates are rolling out today, impacting the functionality of apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific.

Without the ability to connect to streams in real time, Twitter timelines displayed over WiFi in both Tweetbot and Twitterrific will now be refreshed every one to two minutes, reports MacRumors.com. Push notifications for direct messages and mentions are also delayed in Tweetbot, while push notifications for likes, retweets, follows and quotes — along with the Activity and Stats tabs — are no longer part of the app.

Taproot, the developer behind Tweetbot, told MacRumors.com it is looking into options for bringing back some of the push notifications. It also gave the following comment on the changes:

On August 16th Twitter will disable parts of their public interface that we use in Tweetbot. Because Twitter has chosen not to provide alternatives to these interfaces we have been forced to disable or degrade certain features. We’re sorry about this, but unfortunately this is totally out of our control.

Twitterrific also posted a statement on its website in May when Twitter announced the August 16 rollout date:

In the coming months, Twitter plans to discontinue the underlying services that we need to provide live streaming. To work around this, we’ve implemented more thorough automatic refreshing throughout the app — including for Lists which have never supported streaming. Live streaming will continue to work until Twitter shuts it down at which point the app will fallback to automatically refreshing approximately every two minutes while you are using the app.

In December 2017, when Twitter announced it would be deprecating site streams, users’ streams and direct messaging features, the company pointed developers to its newly announced Account Activity API.

“The Account Activity API offers a faster and more streamlined way to access data, and is more reliable and scalable than User Streams, Site Streams, or our standard REST endpoints,” Twitter developer advocate Jon Cipriano wrote on Twitter’s blog.

Since then, the company has launched different Account Activity API levels for developers, with costs ranging from $389 to $2,899 per month for the Premium plan.

While many users of Twitter’s third-party apps may be frustrated with the latest changes and lack of capabilities, these latest updates are part of Twitter’s ongoing initiative to tighten control around APIs and the ability of third-party apps to spread content on the platform. In June, Twitter reported it had removed 214 percent more spammy accounts year over year and suspended more than 142,000 apps during Q1 for violating its app policies.

Twitter has also rolled out a more stringent application process for app developers and, starting September 1, will be releasing more restrictions around the number of tweets, retweets, likes, follows and direct messages third-party apps can perform.

Putting certain API features behind a cost-prohibitive paywall limits access for many well-meaning app developers, but also creates a barrier to bad actors that aim to infiltrate Twitter with malicious content.

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