Twitter Rules

July 02, 2012 by Gabe | [mmd] |

Twitter is now turning up enforcement of their API rules and frightening/pissing off some developers. The primary issue I see with the the Twitter rules is with section 4, titled "Be a good partner to Twitter." I'm not familiar with the API, but that rule seems to imply that even basic filtering could be interpreted as a violation.1 Twitter would like unique clients that do not replicate Twitter functionality but they also don't want them to modify the basic Twitter functionality. Do they even use their own clients? They are so far behind apps like Tweetbot that it's a joke to compare them.

Here's the thing: I don't use Twitter. I use Tweetbot and Twitterific which use Twitter. I use an interpretation of what Twitter is. If I was forced to use the native Twitter experience, I wouldn't use Twitter.

I think these mixed messages result from Twitter trying to be cool instead of an enormous business. Apple had the same problem with App Store guidelines. The rules are written in a casual way, as if they were somebody's "bro" just helping out with some new bitchin API. Smaller companies come in and try to build a business on those rules, only to find out that Twitter or Apple aren't messing around. They are serious about their rules and want to control how their services work. It's Twitter's right to do anything they want with their API, but if they really want to be cool, they would write guidelines like a legally binding contract, with actual details, like adults.

See Clark's opinion too. He has an equally valid interpretation and some stern words for Twitter.

  1. I'm a Twitter Luddite. I don't know half of what the API does but I know I only like half of what I do know.