If you’re a heavy Twitter user and prefer to use a third-party app to manage your twitter (think Hootsuite, Tweetbo, etc), you should be getting a terribly sinking feeling. Apparently, Twitter is planning to place strict limits on the number of times a third party app can access the Twitter API – meaning instead of getting your Twitter feed 350 or so times an hours, you’ll now only get it about 60 times an hour.
So why is Twitter doing this? Well, the short answer is they want to drive people to use the official apps, such as Tweetdeck (and, blessedly, Tweetdeck is owned by Twitter and is my personal favorite Twitter management system).
This struggle with third party developers has been going on for well over a year, and we’ve had plenty of evidence that this was coming. After all, Twitter recently removed its feed from LinkedIn recently, and it’s clear that if Twitter wants to ever monetize it’s going to have to control the stream, and not allow third party apps to screen out sponsored tweets.
To top it off, Twitter is now limiting the number of users a third party app can have. The Next Web explains it:
The maximum limit is 100,000 users, unless special permission is given by Twitter. If a client has more than 100k users currently, it can only ever grow to 200% of that. If users of the apps de-authorize their tokens for those apps, then they’re added back to that pool.
That means that no third-party client can ever have more than 100k users, unless given special permission by Twitter or it already has over 100k right now, in which case it can have double the amount it has today.
But PC World doesn’t see the changes as being dire, and in fact feels it may improve some services.
Twitter’s current limits only allow apps to grab data 350 times per hour for all data types including direct messages, profile information, and new tweets. That rate will now change to 60 times per hour (once per minute) for each type of data, and up to 720 times per hour for the more popular data requests including new tweets.
As a result, you should see fewer error messages saying that your tweet stream can’t be refreshed or a search can’t be carried out and suggesting you try again later.
As you can see, using the official Twitter apps is still probably your best bet. As social networks move to monetize, I suspect we’ll see more and more moves like this.