Twitter to allow some 'good-content' bots free access to its API

The move comes after backlash from developers.
Ameya Paleja
Elon Musk
Elon Musk


Twitter CEO Elon Musk has said that the company will allow free API access to bots that provide 'good content' on the platform even as others pay a monthly fee to access it, after a change in policy at the social media company, Business Insider reported. It remains unclear how the selection of these bots will be made.

Since Musk took over Twitter, he has been looking for new ways to increase revenues at the company. One of the strategies to do so was the paid verification status, which went through a few iterations before it could adequately be rolled out.

Musk has been good at reducing the company's expenses, slashing its workforce by more than half, and even not paying rent on its office spaces. Last Thursday, the company seemed to have found another way to generate revenue, charging for its API access.

What is API? Is it free or paid?

API stands for Application Programming Interface, a software tool that enables developers to access data from a website and deliver services based on this content.

Famous examples of such bot services are the Threader bot that creates a PDF of a Twitter thread for you to read in your spare time or a remind bot that you can task to send you a reminder about a tweet in a given period, like 15 days or three months.

Technology companies have different approaches to the use of the APIs they provide. While the likes of Facebook, Netflix, and Spotify provide API access for free, Amazon has a pay-per-use policy for its APIs.

Under Elon Musk, Twitter is looking to use its API as a revenue source, and users are looking to source information from the platform. Last week, the company announced that starting February 9, API access would be charged $100 a month and would also require ID verification.

Why does Twitter want to charge for API access?

As per the company's announcement last week, Twitter is among the world's most rich datasets, with hundreds of millions of people sending over a trillion tweets and adding billions every week.

Elon Musk, however, believes that bot scammers and opinion manipulators are abusing the free API access, and asking them to cough up money for its use, alongside a need for verification, could be a great way to clean up the misuse. The company has already forced popular services like Tweetbot and Twitterific but shutting down their access to the API.

The new proposal for paid access to the API faced backlash from developers, who use the API without any malintent. Companies such as Cheap Bots Done Quick, which currently support over 54,000 accounts, had announced that they would shut shop after this change, Business Insider reported.

Musk, though, had a change of mind, and he tweeted,

Per its paid-access to API policy, users may have to shell out anywhere between $149 to $2,499 a month based on the number of requests made by the developer. With the selective free API access, some developers and their companies could get a new lease on life. However, how these developers will be picked remains a mystery for now.

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