By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 18, 2012 10:01 AM EDT
Twitter officially announced changes in version 1.1 of its Application Programming Interface (API), sparking outrage from developers and users.
The changes to the new API will limit how often third-party twitter clients and other services can access information on Twitter. While some of the changes will help Twitter reduce the number of spam accounts and bots that mar the service, they will also impose significant limitations to third-party applications.
Under the new API rules, any new app that aims to serve more than 100,000 users will now require Twitter's explicit permission. Meanwhile, apps which already have more than 100,000 users will be allowed to expand by 200 percent, after which they will need Twitter's approval to expand further. According to numerous critics, these changes will stifle innovation.
The changes are part of Twitter's overhaul of its API. An API allows applications to share content with each other and enables different parts of a program to communicate together. In this case, Twitter's API has allowed for the development of wildly popular third-party services such as Twitpic, Tweetdeck, and Hootsuite.
Announcing the new rules, Twitter's director of Consumer Product Michael Sippey said the changes aim to "deliver a consistent Twitter experience."
"If your application displays Tweets to users, and it doesn't adhere to our Display Requirements, we reserve the right to revoke your application key," wrote Sippey in a company blog post.
While the changes are not expected to immediately impact end users, developers have expressed outrage and heavily criticized Twitter's new strategy. Instapaper developer Marco Arment, for instance, encouraged developers who were building on Twitter to "start working on another product."
"Twitter has left themselves a lot of wiggle room with the rules," Arment wrote in a blog post. "Effectively, Twitter can decide your app is breaking a (potentially vague) rule at any time, or they can add a new rule that your app inadvertently breaks, and revoke your API access at any time," warned the developer. "Of course, they've always had this power. But now we know that they'll use it in ways that we really don't agree with."
"I sure as hell wouldn't build a business on Twitter, and I don't think I'll even build any nontrivial features on it anymore," Arment added.
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