Friday, January 20, 2023
Just When I Thought I Was Pulled Back In to Twitter, I'm Out Again
I've been thinking about re-starting the Blog's Twitter feed, which has been dormant since December. Blog traffic is down, I have been losing touch with academic news that I was getting through active LawTwitter folks, and Twitter remains an awesome news aggregator. And then I came across this latest evidence that the new Twitter is a dastardly, mean-spirited Saturn that devours its own children.
I learned today on Mastodon (of course) through Andy Baio that Twitter has "quietly changed its Developer Agreement today to retroactively justify their unannounced ban on third-party Twitter clients." The change is reflected in an update in Twitter's (you guessed it!) Terms of Service. Here is a track-change comparison that highlights the changes. These changes are really targeted at independent companies that greatly improved the user experience over at Twitter. I wasn't around for the early days of Twitter, and I'm not a person who thinks much about tech matters, so I don't really understand how it all worked, but here is an account of the effect on one such company, Twitterific. #Tweetbot is another such service that the New Twitter has killed off. I take it that these were Apps that you could download that would give you a better experience on Twitter than the actual Twitter App and which contributed mightily to Twitter's success.
As you can read here in reporting from Ivan Mehta, Twitter claimed that these Twitter clients violated its "longstanding rules," without identifying any such rules. The fact that it had to changes its ToS in order to justify its actions is, in a word, suss.
Still mulling a return to Twitter. Still hoping things change over there or that one of the alternative matures into a substitute. For now, please follow the Blog on Mastodon.