Friday, January 13, 2023

Twitter API Down

Ben Schoon (Hacker News, Tweetbot, Twitterrific, echofon):

Around 11 p.m. ET this evening, many Twitter users noticed that third-party clients were throwing back error messages related to the Twitter API. This widespread outage is occurring across all third-party apps including Twitterrific, Fenix, Talon, and many others on both Android and iOS, as well as macOS. Tweetbot is also affected by the API outage, but Tweetdeck, thankfully, appears unaffected.

Whether this is a temporary outage or an intentional decision by Twitter remains to be seen, as the company has issued no official explanation at this time.

It does stand to reason, though, that it is possible Twitter may be killing off third-party clients.

I’d had virtually no trouble with Twitter over the past few months, but about 12 hours later this is now the worst outage I’ve ever seen with the service. There doesn’t seem to be a status page or official blog that even mentions the issue.

Benedict Evans:

Has Twitter deliberately just blocked all third-party apps or is that another screw up? (The native Twitter UX is so bad, and getting worse, that I avoid if at all possible)

Alex Brooks:

Buffer and Hootsuite seem ok to me, and brands are happily tweeting away so suggests the big tools are not cut off. Different API I’m sure, but does suggest something more nefarious.


Unsurprisingly, the outage hasn’t affected twitters own client.

Twitter doesn’t allow users to install the iOS version on Apple Silicon Macs. You have to use the Catalyst version, which I guess uses a different API than the iOS version, so it doesn’t work. Thus, there is effectively no Mac client at the moment. The Web version is pretty grim, so currently I’m using the official app on my iPad. It’s also much worse than Tweetbot, though.

I had to uninstall the official Mac app because, thanks to Universal Links, any time I click a Twitter link in any app it will open in the Twitter app, which—due to the outage—can’t display it. It’s terrible how this macOS “feature” causes breakage across the system.

The other design thing I want to point out is that apps should not assume that an error is transitory. I have lots of old tweets already loaded that I could be reading in Tweetbot, but I don’t want to because it keeps throwing up modal dialogs for the same error.

Steve Streza:

You know how everyone is upset about Twitter apps getting suddenly taken offline without warning after months or years of hard work, whether by bug or by policy change?

That’s what Apple does to App Store apps, regularly.


Update (2023-01-13): Jeff Johnson:

If you block the swcd process in Little Snitch, it blocks all Universal Links.

Mark Jardine:

I get that 3rd party clients were severely nerfed when they took away streaming around 5 years ago, and that that we didn’t get most of the new features that came after, but wow spending a few hours reading with the official Twitter products and wondering how people even manage. Trying to read new tweets and when I refresh, all I get is a bunch more old tweets. I absolutely loathe algorithmic timelines.

Eric Schwarz:

Tweetbot and Twitterrific are both broken so I checked out the official app for the first time in awhile and holy smokes it sucks—to the point where I don’t want to waste time and hang around. That seems counterintuitive for an engagement factory like a social network?

Rene Ritchie:

Main issue with 3rd-party Twitter apps not working is that Twitter web has become increasingly unusable. I get 4-5 tweets on Home or in threads, then nothing, unless/until I change font size, then the rest renders. Also, mentions are missing, don't update, or skip hours/days 🤷

The Icon Factory:

There’s been no official word from Twitter about what’s going on, but that’s unsurprising since the new owner eliminated the employees dedicated to keeping the API up and running smoothly, including the developer evangelists who previously provided communication with third-parties.

We wouldn’t know whom to reach out to at Twitter even if such people existed. We’re in the dark just as much as you are, sadly.

Rui Carmo:

But what Twitter is doing goes way beyond negligence and borders on abuse of dominant position (even though it is their network and they’re not a utility, etc). API downtime would prevent third-party clients from logging in, but deregistering them from user accounts cannot be an availability issue–they removed the application keys, period.

John Gruber:

Last night I’d have bet — a small amount — that it was an unintentional outage. Today I’d bet the other way, that this is the end. If so, this is probably the end of my regular usage of Twitter. Twitter’s official client has been terrible ever since it was anything other than a rebranded version of Tweetie.


Unlike Tweetbot, Twitterrific uses different app IDs for iOS and Mac, and whatever is going on, it seems to have affected only the most popular third-party apps.

Ben Sandofsky:

If you’re worried about losing revenue to third-party Twitter clients, the obvious solution would be to limit them to Twitter Blue subscribers.

Uli Kusterer:

They could have served ads all this time. Nothing in the Twitter API keeps them from just serving ads as yet another tweet. They could even have changed their API TOS to prevent clients from filtering out ads.

Mike Rockwell:

What’s interesting about this third-party client situation on Twitter is that the people using third-party apps are the ones that are most likely to try and most likely to enjoy the fediverse.

And I have a hunch those people are also pretty influential within their family and friend circles.

Benedict Evans:

I can understand why Twitter wouldn’t want third party apps, though (apparently) cutting them off with no communication is typically inept. But people used them because Twitter’s own app is just terrible, and Twitter is actively making it worse. Try fixing that, perhaps?

Paul Haddad:

Almost 24 hours later and still no official/unofficial info from inside Twitter. I’m going to continue as if this was all done on purpose.

What now? Ivory goes into hyper mode with just the absolute minimum 3-4 things that have to be done finished up and then off to Apple. Probably going to be a bunch of things I’m not super happy with but I guess we’ll fix it in post.

Hopefully everyone knows what we’re capable of and can live with some, hopefully not long lived, rough edges/missing features.

13 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Twitterrific works fine in both my Macs, but not in my iPhone or iPad. I wonder what is different in the way they access the Twitter API.

I'm only a casual Twitter user and never installed a third party app.
Reading the comments, I start understanding why I feel alone thinking Twitter sucks. This is mainly because most serious users are not using the Web UI…

Right now (at least) the third party app Spring for Twitter is still working fine. I’ve also heard that a few Android apps still work, and Twitterific for MacOS.

[…] Third-Party Twitter Apps Currently Suspended → […]

Twitteriffic Mac doesn’t work for me, but that could be because I just installed it now (Mac App Store), after not using it for a while . It had been previously installed, but I’d removed it some months ago.

I just downloaded the from the app store on my apple silicon mac book pro, ventura 13.1 and while I don't like it as much as Tweetbot, it works.
The silence from Twitter is unnerving and it seems like they're waiting to see how many of us switch to the official Twitter app before pulling the plug on 3rd party clients.

They have apparently targeted only some of the third-party clients: I had been using Twitterrific for iOS, and it didn't just stop working, it was also removed by Twitter from the list of apps I had granted access for my account… keys gone. (The macOS version keeps working & is still listed.) Another iOS client I had installed for testing purposes, Tweetoshi, is still working, and it remains in the list of authorized apps in my Twitter settings. So this seems to be deliberate.

Calixto Davila

This is the straw that broke this camel back. So long Twitter, and thanks for all the fish. I will have to migrate to mastodon. I wonder if the twitterific people will develop a mastodon reader ?

Calixto - Tapbot is developing a Mastodon client based on Tweetbot called Ivory.

Musk can do anything he likes to Twitter without apology. But he seems to have forgotten the value add that user posting of interesting material brings to Twitter. For every popular tweeter who leaves, the site will lose many other lurkers. This is perhaps why there's an inflated view tally per tweet to convince advertisers there are eye balls. But advertising to an audience that is disinterested, asleep, aggravated, is unlikely to be a sustainable revenue source. An even if slimmed down to a largely automated and self-managing system, will never recover the income to support the purchase. Tightening the screws is another sign of severe pressures. Forget Twitter Blue. Dead at launch.

Hi all, here is an great post on why you should quit worrying about
Twitter: Elon moves quickly before refining. Read here:.

Would Twitter going bankrupt clear musk's debt?

Gotta say, Tweetbot was always “incomplete” and tweetbot.neu inferior to the older version. Tweetbot either old or new could never do group chats, ever. At any rate I was always hopping between a browser & Tweetbot old & new.

I could *never* write DMs in Tweetbot.neu and last year cancelled my sub to it. Tapbots has this annoying habit of leaving their apps “incomplete” so I’m done with them.

The UX of Twitter’s native app is about the same as using it in Safari, so I recommend just using iOS Safari & some content blockers or Brave. And it’s a plus that I can’t jump between buggy 3rd party apps to a browser, it’s *just* the browser now.

[…] Twitter API Down [Ed: Freenode all over again. This is intentional.] […]

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