Desperate for Cash, Twitter Moves to Fully Monetize Its API

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on February 3, 2023

Twitter’s cash problems are no secret, as there have been various initiatives with mixed results bouncing around in the past few months, including Twitter Blue, advertising initiatives, and more than a few tweets spouting doom and gloom about the company’s financial situation. Now, Twitter looks to fully monetize its API by revoking free access, once again proving that it is willing to do almost anything to make money.

Twitter’s Move to Monetize Its API

Considering everything Twitter has already done, the decision to monetize its API almost seems like the next logical step. The API is valuable since so many developers use it for their projects, which include:

  • Research
  • Bots
  • Apps

While your first thought of bots might not be a positive one, there are tons of useful and interesting bots out there, such as those that you can set to remind you of a tweet in a certain number of days. Research and apps are equally useful, but with Twitter moving to monetize its API, many of the projects are likely to shut down in the near future.

The move will devastate small developers, who have relied on free access to create all sorts of tools and applications. The worst part? There is barely any time before it happens, with the sudden announcement only leaving devs until February 9th to decide whether they will pay whatever price Twitter asks or pack up and abandon their projects.

The Decision Has Caused an Uproar

Information about Twitter’s decision to monetize its API is still vague, and there is still no concrete pricing set out in front of people. However, even before knowing the full details, people are speaking out, including entrepreneur and developer Tom Coates.

Coates is of the opinion that it is acceptable for Twitter to charge those who “extract more value than they contribute.” But, he finds it unreasonable that Twitter has chosen to do things so suddenly, remarking that “one week’s notice and no indication of pricing shows Twitter is chaotic and unreliable. No one’s going to build a business on that.”

But “chaotic and unreliable” seems like a Twitter motto at this point when you consider some of the actions it has taken in the wake of Elon Musk’s purchase.

Others are of the opinion that the paywall will hasten the platform’s demise, or at least severely reduce its value. Though, if there is one thing almost everyone agrees on, it is that without the many apps and bots, Twitter will not be the same.

Quick Victory Versus Long-Term Success

While monetizing the API might earn Twitter some quick cash, there is a high chance it does great damage down the line. After all, it will hurt a massive number of small developers in an attempt to target bigger developers who are using the free access for commercial projects.

While the change will force bigger developers to make a decision and potentially fork over some money, the small devs might have no choice but to move their passion somewhere else, especially those who make no money through their creations.

Musk Claims It Will Combat the Bot Problem

Musk has a different opinion than most. According to him, the unfettered access to the API has led to problems. He tweeted, “free API is being abused badly right now by bot scammers & opinion manipulators. There’s no verification process or cost, so easy to spin up 100k bots to do bad things.”
However, it is a common belief that the majority of the bots harmed by the move would be the “good” bots, while the rest would be largely unaffected.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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