A week after Twitter made the announcement about shutting down free access to the API, the company said today that it will charge $100 per month for the basic tier of API. This will get developers access to a “low level of API usage” — without specifying what that exactly means — and the Ads API.
The company had planned to shut down free access to its API on February 9, and now it has extended this deadline to February 13. But with no details available around API pricing restructuring and access levels, this extension seems symbolic as developers won’t be able to plan their changes.
Last week’s announcement drew a lot of criticism from developers — especially folks who make fun of bots posting information or pictures. Later, Elon Musk said that the company will provide a free API to bots posting “good” content. In the newest string of announcements, Twitter said that it will provide a light write-only API to such bot developers with a limit of posting 1,500 tweets per month (or two tweets per hour).
Twitter also added that it will depreciate premium API, which was part of v1.1, on February 13. While the company said developers can apply for enterprise access, it is not clear if folks subscribed to elevated access with API v2 will be affected.
While the new announcement sets the ground for basic API tiers and bots, there is a lot of uncertainty around academic research. Under the previous management, the company provided special access to researchers with API v2. However, there is no information that access will be taken away as the social network discontinues free API tiers. Researchers rely on this data to signal trends around hate speech or misinformation on the platform. So it’s critical that these researchers have permission to access the data to observe safety issues on Twitter.
Apart from this, people have also pointed out that engineers building solutions for natural disasters like earthquakes also rely on Twitter API. So discontinuing the free tier will affect those solutions.
Making API access paid is Musk’s latest move to bring more money into Twitter. The company has expanded Twitter Blue to 15 countries now. According to recent reports, only 180,000 people have signed up for that in the US. The Information noted that at this rate, Twitter is set to make only $27.8 million this year from subscriptions.