Twitter developers urged not to build more apps

Mon 14th of March 2011, filed under Social Media

Tweets denied

Ryan Sarver, Twitter's head of platform and application programming interface (API), has sent a controversial message to third party developers. According to Sarver, "developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no."

The reasoning behind this 'no' is apparently a shift towards a more consistent user experience. The "fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients" means tweets are displayed differently, and can be interacted with in different ways, depending on the client or app the user has downloaded.

Cornering the market

If providing the mainstream, definitive Twitter platform is the goal, then it's fair to say Twitter has been working towards it for some time. Official or endorsed apps for Mac, iPad, Android and Windows Phone have already been produced, while the company acquired Tweetie, a popular app for iPhone and iPod, in 2010. So far, Twitter claims to own the top five ways in which people access its content, translating to 90 per cent of the market; however, it is widely reported that the TweetDeck platform carries 20 per cent of all tweets.

Twitter's API terms of service have been updated to reflect the blockade on new platforms; a move that has garnered understandable criticism. Richard Chirgwin of The Register blog commented:

"Twitter is following a well-trodden path: let the buzz lead unrewarded suckers into conducting your test marketing for you, then put the stuff end users actually like into your platform."

According to Sarver, "hundreds" of harmful apps and low quality platforms are taken down every week, when their ability to use Twitter's core content is revoked.

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