Twitter's sudden ban on third-party apps is baffling as it is stupid

Elon Musk and Twitter
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Update 19/1: Twitter has now confirmed that any third-party apps are banned, according to Engadget (opens in new tab).

If you found that apps such as Twitteriffic and Tweetbot had stopped working, it wasn't by accident. In one swoop, third-party apps for Twitter went offline earlier this month, rendering the efforts of many developers over the years pointless, and their loyalty to the company, shattered.

It's another line in the story of Elon Musk owning the social platform since late 2022, where a bunch of decisions have either been heavily criticized or reversed, apparently depending on how he was feeling that day.

However, this decision could be one of its worst, as it quickly destroyed any goodwill developers had for the platform, and all the company has done to acknowledge this, is one tweet that is unnecessarily mysterious that you can't help but think it comes from a soap opera.

From the frustration comes innovation

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Shown above is the tweet that raised even more questions than its purpose to acknowledge these third-party apps being restricted access to Twitter.

For transparency, you'd usually expect to see a web link to a support page, outlining the rules and why it came to this conclusion - but there's nothing. It's a slap in the face to developers who have worked tirelessly on their own Twitter apps to give users choice in how they wanted to read their feed and compose their tweets, but now they're forced to use an official app that has become more unstable since Musk's cull of the platform's workforce, rendering teams to be non-existent, such as its press team.

Once again, we're left to scratch their heads and wonder if we'll see another tweet in the near future to either reverse the decision or explain in more cryptic tweets like a 2008-era Facebook status that has big 'I'll inbox u hun' vibes.

It's a huge shame to see one of Twitter's biggest assets, both in goodwill and innovation from those outside the company, be in flames in one go. It's not the way to do things, in any way. From the playground to a meeting in the office, you just don't.

However, this also spurs the alternatives, such as Mastodon and even Instagram. Icon Factory, responsible for Tweetbot, is now turning its attention to a Mastodon client called Ivory (opens in new tab). It already looks great, and hopefully, in time, the platform will appeal to more users.

This is the one positive to take from all of this - but it shouldn't have ended like this.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.