Now that Twitter has confirmed that it’s banning third-party clients, some of the more prominent alternatives are going away. Tapbots shut down work on Tweetbot, one of the most popular iOS apps, as Twitter went down “in the blink of an eye.” Instead, the developer is switching to Ivory, an app for the open social platform Mastodon. While limited to an invite-only trial for now, Tapbots hopes to make the software “better than Tweetbot ever could be.”
This isn’t the only major Twitter app developer to pull out. Iconfactory pulled Twitterrific from the iOS and macOS app stores, slamming the Musk-era as a company it “doesn’t recognize anymore.”[s] as trustworthy.” Android users, meanwhile, can’t count on apps like Matteo Villa’s Fenix (no longer available on Google Play) or Luke Klinker’s Talon (which the creator warns “will stop working”).
The shutdowns follow about a week of disruptions and unclear messaging. Numerous third-party apps suddenly stopped working around the night of January 12, and leaks suggest it was intentional. Twitter later acknowledged that it was breaking these apps, supposedly to enforce “old” development rules. Then the social media giant quietly updated its developer agreement to formally ban unofficial clients.
Third-party Twitter clients have generally not played a significant role in recent years. In 2018, Sensor Tower determined that 6 million users had installed alternatives compared to 560 million for the official Android and iOS apps. However, the ban doesn’t help Twitter’s bid to keep users and protect its results. Users of third-party apps downloaded the software of their choice precisely because they are active and want features that official apps don’t offer (like previews and more powerful media searches). Twitter’s policy risks driving away users who hate Twitter’s own app.
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