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Tweetbot. April 2011 – January 2023 (tapbots.com)
727 points by davidbarker on Jan 20, 2023 | hide | past | favorite | 400 comments



Recent and related:

Twitterrific has been discontinued - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34445702 - Jan 2023 (355 comments)

Official Twitter Statement on Revoking API Access to 3rd Party Devs - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34416416 - Jan 2023 (11 comments)

Twitter kicking off a developer API campaign on January 16, 2023 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34410624 - Jan 2023 (107 comments)

Tweetbot is back down again - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34396664 - Jan 2023 (210 comments)

The Shit Show - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34393485 - Jan 2023 (312 comments)

Twitter API Page - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34387834 - Jan 2023 (98 comments)

Twitter's API is down? - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34363743 - Jan 2023 (408 comments)


If you're not paying attention to Mastodon now, a think to know about Tapbots and Ivory, their new ActivityPub client, is that their TestFlight betas, which they release in batches of a thousand or so at a time, last for just a couple minutes before they're all snapped up; there seems to be pretty huge demand for it.

With a decent client (I've bounced around a couple of them so far), even in a beta state, the experience of writing and interacting with people on "Mastodon" is better than it was on Twitter. I'm bummed out when I have to talk on Twitter now.


Yeah back when Elon bought the place and everyone was talking about moving to Mastodon I was dismissive.

Wasn't expecting Twitter to start switching off systems like a ship in Star Trek trying to conserve energy for life support..

Looking forward to Tapbots new client. Don't really care what's powering the backend as it turns out, it just needs to stay working.

Nice work Mastodon and the rest of the federation, I'll be looking into server options over the weekend. Gotta have the vanity domain.


As an FYI you can have the "vanity domain" if you just use the webfinger protocol with your own custom domain. Don't necessarily need to self-host it.


Are you sure? I'm a Mastodon newbie, but the docs suggest neither the "local domain" nor the "web domain" can be changed once set:

> As with LOCAL_DOMAIN, WEB_DOMAIN cannot be safely changed once set, as this will confuse remote servers that knew of your previous settings and may break communication with them or make it unreliable.

https://docs.joinmastodon.org/admin/config/#local_domain

They also recommend a "301 Moved Permanently" implementation.


Following an account discovered via WebFinger on your domain doesn’t provide account portability (https://www.jwz.org/blog/2022/11/using-your-own-domain-as-a-...).

You can always host a lightweight ActivityPub server like honk (https://humungus.tedunangst.com/r/honk).


Does this method let you move instances “under the hood”?


yes


Nice one for pointing this out, thank you


Welcome! If you are thinking of running it in Kubernetes, I have updated some old charts to work better with modern Kubernetes and Mastodon, you can find them here: https://github.com/rezonant/mastodon-chart


100%. I definitely found my usage increase when I found a more delightful and well-built client with Ivory.

For those new to Mastodon, I wrote a huge 8K word post about it recently, from my POV as someone who worked at Twitter for 9 years: https://paulstamatiou.com/mastodon/

I go over some of the constraints that the federated model brings that might be particularly interesting.


Oh wow thank you for this.


I joined the beta test, it's truly awesome and, by far, the best Mastodon app I've tried.

A humble review: https://notes.ghed.in/posts/2023/ivory-mastodon-app-review/


I took a look and don't see any strong reasons not to use and support the official app. Tweetbot was so successful because it was competing against the official client which was (and still is) truly horrible, but I don't see that in this case Ivory has many advantages over the official client.


I used to use the official client prior to Ivory. It's a fine app, but it's a far cry from Ivory's polish and overall quality — I mean, it feels snappier and more “at home” on iOS than Mastodon's official app.

Anyway, Mastodon has no reason to stand against third party apps. Its official app was released only last year, and by no means to threat others nor become the only app in town. Experimentation is good, and Mastodon's third apps are shining right now. There are dozens of them, each one bringing fresh ideas and new concepts.

edit: typos.


The official app makes it awkward to read the local timeline, which is where the real fun is on smaller instances.


I've been on the fediverse for years and while I enjoy it, I think it's naive to think it'll replace Twitter. Fundamentally it lacks good discovery, features take too long to implement (or simply can't be implemented), and verification is impossible without setting up your own server which seems like too much overhead imo. Further it just doesn't scale, although Andrew Torba was never known for his coding ability there's a reason he left the fediverse and I think the issues are fundamental to a federated site.


I don't know what it even means for this to "scale". I think people right now are hung up on Mastodon-the-social-network, the way it's been principally used until fairly recently, where people share servers and servers have a discernible culture, moderation, rules, community, that kind of thing. I don't think that's going to last long at all.

The Mastodon that stands a very good chance of killing Twitter is Mastodon-the-software; "ActivityPub", if we have to call it that. This Mastodon isn't a coherent social network at all; it's a successor to RSS. People run their own servers; "scaling" them means the same thing as scaling a blog would. Of course, most people don't want to run their own servers, but that isn't going to matter by the end of the year, when 10 different providers will boot up a "Mastodon instance" for you with a single button push. Nobody is going to be thinking about instances at all; they'll just have an address, the same way they do for email.

In this world, "Mastodon" is sort of a combination of most of the good features of Twitter, Blogger, and Google Reader, all at once. Users are as "discoverable" as blogs were --- meaning: very discoverable.


Everyone is approaching the social media issue as if it was a technical problem - it's not. No amount of decentralisation or protocols address (or even attempt) the root cause. The closest would be the crypto-based social networks, which while they have their own problems at least attempt to address the issue of funding the platform. You know it's bad when the closest thing to a solution comes from crypto grifters. Same issue with the rest of the "alternative" world, whether it's OSes or software. Lots of time spent on technicalities or ideologies, zero time spent on addressing the actual problem - that's why the "year of the Linux desktop" is still a recurring joke.

The problem with social media right now is the lack of a non-adversarial, sustainable business model. All these changes stem from the fact that advertising-based business models are on their last legs and are fundamentally flawed because they are adversarial to the users - the Twitter API shutdown is at least partly because they want to drive everyone to use the official client where it's easier to impose user-hostile functionality.

Decentralisation merely side-steps this problem which works on a very small scale but not only will break down at a larger scale (operating a social media platform costs money) but also brings a lot of its own issues. Part of the appeal of a social media platform is its popularity, network effects and a sense of community where most people are happy with or at least tolerate the rules and moderation policy.

A Mastodon-powered future will have 2 outcomes:

1) every instance federates with everyone and the entire thing becomes flooded with spam and other unsavoury (or outright illegal, at least in some jurisdictions) content because there is no common moderation policy. Users eventually get fed up and leave to a centralised competitor.

2) instances federate on a case-by-case basis which fundamentally breaks network effects and makes global conversation and community building impossible. Good luck explaining to non-technical users why they can't see/interact with the same posts as their friends because they happen to be on different instances that don't federate with each other, or because the content they both want to see is on a separate instance that doesn't federate with theirs. Users get fed up & leave or can't get started to begin with and sign up on a centralised competitor instead.

In both cases I haven't even addressed the issue of funding the network itself - there is still no business model (and any business model where users pay would require the service to have enough value for them to begin doing so - chicken & egg problem when the value of a social network is in its network effects), and even if there was, it will be more expensive because decentralisation requires a lot more system resources.


No. You're still thinking about Mastodon as a federation of medium- and large- sized small social networks; star systems in a galaxy.

That's how it works now, but I don't think it's going to stay that way for long. I don't think large shared Mastodon instances, at least larger than you'd see for a group blog, make much sense. It doesn't make sense for all the reasons you're spelling out: the amount of effort to keep those big instances going is expensive, and there's no real funding model for it, and beyond that there's not enough win to justify the work.

But a "network" of hundreds of thousands or millions of tiny instances, maybe paradoxically, doesn't have this same spam/trolling problem, any more than RSS did when we were all using Google Reader. You see posts from people you follow. Because most people aren't on big shared instances, you're not pulling lots of random traffic in to begin with.

Again: think of this like Blogger and Google Reader mashed together, with Twitter's surface-level user experience. I think it'll work fine, and I think it does most of what Twitter did (and some additional things). People forget that the "blogosphere" worked pretty great before Twitter and Facebook wrecked it. I think there's a good chance we're heading back towards something that works like blogs did.


> But a "network" of hundreds of thousands or millions of tiny instances, maybe paradoxically, doesn't have this same spam/trolling problem, any more than RSS did when we were all using Google Reader.

RSS/Google Reader was mostly a "pull" medium. Creators create content while consumers passively consume it but can't write back. This works but is fundamentally different from Twitter and the modern concept of social media. Furthermore, RSS offloads all the work to the clients, so RSS servers don't have to store nor process any state regardless of how many consumers there are (you can serve the same cached response to all of them).

If you want it to be like social media, you need people to also be able to "push" things (that others who don't directly follow you see) so people can reply and comment and do social-media-y things. This then not only opens the floodgates for spam, but also makes everything harder if every instance has to federate with tens of thousands of small ones instead of a few hundred like we currently have (the current system works fine with a "hosts"-like file manually curated by instance admins, but if instances start proliferating you'd need a DHT of sorts so they can all discover each other, and again need some way of vetting the quality of them so you don't get spam into it). This turns instances into hosts not just for the original content of the instance admin but also for the replies of people, again raising both server resource issues as well as issues relating to spam, illegal content and moderation in general.

> think of this like Blogger and Google Reader mashed together, with Twitter's surface-level user experience

Blogger could potentially pull it off because it's a closed system that has one consistent moderation policy. It doesn't have to broker or host unvetted third-party content. But blogging/publishing is fundamentally still a different medium to something like Twitter.

> People forget that the "blogosphere" worked pretty great before Twitter and Facebook wrecked it.

I think that the blogosphere and social media are fundamentally different mediums. Blogging is write-once, read-many, with minimal, mostly consumer-to-publisher interactions (comments on the blog itself). For a lot of people, social media also involves direct consumer-to-consumer communication, merely adjacent to the publisher's content but completely outside of their control. Your proposal does not address this use-case.


Why do I need to care about "pull" or "push"? That's a thing the server instance does for me.


But the concept of instances raises a lot of issues as I’ve described. Google Reader/RSS works for its purposes because there is no instances and most of the work is delegated to the client.


And why won't that be the configuration ActivityPub converges to? Why will people be signing up for random group instances rather than just pushing a button to get their own? That's what happened with blogs. Why won't it happen here?


Because the client-server paradigm means than an instance can’t be hosted by a mobile client (and even if it could, the system relying on DNS or a static IP wouldn’t work as most mobile IPs are dynamic) and thus should be provided by someone at a loss (or other user-hostile business model such as advertising if not outright extortion). The system needs to be as easy as Facebook/Instagram/Twitter if it wants to succeed. Having to manage a domain or a (stateful) server is a non-starter.

RSS doesn’t have this problem because it doesn’t require the client to have a static hostname, thus mobile RSS clients are totally possible.


This doesn't make much sense. I agree: the instance won't be mobile. It'll be hosted, the same way Blogger was. It'll be provided with the same economics as Blogger. Manage a domain? Most people will be "theirdumbname.mastohost.com". For like 20 different values of "mastohost". Those "mastohost.coms" will make all their money on the subset of people who will provide a credit card to be "theirdumbname.com".

People are sleeping on how well the blogosphere worked, and how much Twitter and Facebook were able to divert it purely through a catchy UX. The blogosphere now has that UX: it's called Mastodon. Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook are collapsing, because the centralized social network is inherently unstable and susceptible to gaming.

RETVRN! As the kids say.


"verification is impossible without setting up your own server"

I don't think that's right. You don't need to run your own server in order to add verified links to your profile - but you do need to have pages you can link to on trusted domains which can rel=me back to your Mastodon page.


There's different "levels" of trust (for me) on the verified.

There's "this random person on a random instance is who they say they are" (after clicking on their name and checking the verified part).

There is also "this person, by value of the name of the instance is who they say they are."

@mfowler@toot.thoughtworks.com - I don't even need to go click through to their name to see if they are an employee of thought works (and thus very likely Martin Fowler).

(One of the challenges with this is also finding the company sites - I'd love an old school yahoo directory of them)


I guess in my mind I meant in order to know it's Ford's official account, the username url would have to be something like ford@ford.com. Every instance will end up with a ford@poa.st or ford@mastodon.social and it's not going to be clear who is the real one and who isn't (at least without being deep into fediverse drama). I don't think people will want to (or have time) to check whether every post they come across is from the official account or not


It's funny to focus on the length of a post on a platform, but then it is central to the medium.

I was on twitter when it was 140 characters, and appreciated the increase to 280. I've always agreed it shouldn't get too long, or you lose the character of the platform. But even with 280, I'm always wordsmithing my posts just to squeeze in enough context to avoid conflict and misinterpretation.

On Mastodon, I haven't once had to reword what I'm trying to say, and I have never felt that others' posts are verbose. The Mastodon post length limit seems to hit the sweet spot for this kind of platform.


Yes, this exactly. There are still "threads" on Mastodon, but they're broken up on boundaries that make sense: related but standing-alone points. Mostly, you just don't have to think about it at all, and just write out whatever you're thinking. It's pretty great.


There are also lots of other interesting clients not from Tapbots. If losing Tweetbot was enough to make you look at Mastodon, keep that open mind and look at all the interesting clients out there.



Ice Cubes is another great example. Very exciting times! https://github.com/Dimillian/IceCubesApp


(Unfortunately) related: they were rejected initially: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34444514

Good news: It looks like that's since been resolved shortly after Gruber's post. https://mastodon.social/@icecubesapp@mastodon.cloud/10971756...


I'm test-driving Mammoth right now, and spent a couple weeks in MetaText (which is I think not maintained anymore, but it worked fine).


I remember a few years back when those positions were reversed. Mastodon iOS app devs are mostly doing it out of love or passion and so seem prone to interesting hiatuses. Though Mastodon is usually "stable" enough and "feature complete" enough and not generally a fast-changing target outside of big migratory transitions like this recent one, so those devs I think are generally more than welcome to whatever hiatuses they need.

For what it is worth, in my own iOS usage, I used Mammoth for a few months (and still follow its developer) and then eventually settled on Toot! Toot!'s developer was on hiatus just before Mastodon 4 (and the Twitter meltdown) so it got mentioned as "no longer maintained" or ignored/overlooked entirely by a lot of suggestions lists for people coming fresh to Mastodon. But it was rock solid and feature complete with Mastodon 3.x and the developer had earned a hiatus for a job well done. The developer also came back and worked to quickly catch up on Mastodon 4 changes (none of which had been truly a show stopper, mind you), though I think a slight bit late for so many newcomers from Twitter seem to have overlooked Toot!. Anyway, Toot! is great if you need a recommendation from a random HN user who has been Mastodon since a previous era. (I started getting serious about Mastodon round about 2016, myself.)


I'd use Toot! but (besides the name, gag) it won't run on an M1 Macbook the way Mammoth will.


I like the name. I don't know why "social media communities" should be professional at all times and afraid to be silly rather than serious. I like some fun there and it is a name that amuses me.

I'm in the class of iOS users without any personal macOS devices, so that's not a consideration I was aware of, but that does make sense.


Try Mastoot


what about the official client that everyone hates? The Android client seems to work well for me.


Yeah, the big challenge with Mastodon is it's basically Twitter as it was like 15 years ago before they added a lot of features that define the modern Twitter experience, like trending/searching on keywords instead of just hashtags (something the leadership has said they do not want to support ever - imho a flag on the toot declaring it scrapeable would be better), an algorithmic feed that considers your follows follows and likes and whatnot to easily-discover interesting people, quote-toots, showing tweetthreads in correct order, and considering whether you've seen a tweet before before showing it over and over as your follows retweet it, muting conversations, etc.

Now obviously a lot of these features are also toxic engagement-maximizers so you don't want to necessarily force them onto users the way Twitter does, but they're also positives in their own ways since they provide content discoverability and legibility.

Twitter 15 years ago was a home of weirdos and journalists mostly. There's a reason it needed changes to take off.


> Twitter 15 years ago was a home of weirdos and journalists mostly. There's a reason it needed changes to take off.

Journalists ignored Twitter until the mainstream was on it. It was definitely full of a community of weirdos. I was there.

I was an early adopter of Twitter and the "no algorithms, no engagement metrics" Twitter was something I missed and was part of why I left Twitter around about 2016. It is something that I like that Mastodon provides a somewhat clean slate on.

Twitter was about ephemeral day to day life. I still remember Twitter was never more useful to me than those early days during conferences/conventions when you'd turn on SMS notifications (!) of a friend or two to help coordinate meetups and meals and use the rest of the feed flying by for a general zeitgeist of exciting things around the next corner to maybe give you a direction to head. If you missed a Tweet when it flew by it was probably too late to see the thing it was talking about and content "discoverability" didn't matter, no one cared.

I know that's not what Twitter has been in a while. I feel it fair to say that when a lot of the algorithm stuff came into play, especially with its toxic engagement-maximizing, but also with its toxic drive-by miscontextualizations, that stopped feeling like a useful Twitter to me.

I'm not going to stop instances from exploring some of that stuff on Mastodon, but I also am going to use rights to silence and block them and otherwise defederate with them at my discretion for how useful I think they are to the overall community. I think the community is just fine without the algorithms and the everything ever tooted is always searchable and scrapable for ever and ever and always relevant for miscontextualization later. I preferred Twitter without those things, those things were stuff that started me rethinking my relationship with Twitter and eventually lost me to Mastodon because I wanted to escape that.


> Twitter was about ephemeral day to day life

This is what I like about Mastodon now. People(including me) posting about their mundane life.

There's no "growth hacker" looking to game the algorithm, there's no listicle about JS and the algorithm didn't try to push for the latest "viral dumb takes" to you.


>something the leadership has said they do not want to support ever

Since Mastodon is decentralized what the leadership wants doesn't always matter. There are several instances which have patched their code to add full search in.

This is one of the big advantages I see to the fediverse as a whole- different instances can experiment around with changes and even entirely different software stacks, and if someone doesn't like the way the mainline software is being run they can fork it (and there are several successful forks already).


I suspect I’ll move to a server more capable in these ways, as I want to know what’s most discussed with or without tags.


I feel compelled to dive in here with a well actually, mastodon clients don't speak activitypub, the protocol used between servers, they speak mastodon api, the semi standard but predominant client server protocol.


Unfortunately Ivory will have a mandatory subscription so not something I'm personally interested in, but the level of interest in Mastodon is encouraging. Right now around 1/3 of the people I follow on Twitter moved over. I wish it was all of them, as now I'm stuck in two platforms.


When I first tried to join the Ivory beta (after they announced new slots on a particular time), the ~1000 slots were gone in 12 SECONDS. It's on the App Store now by the way.


When is the Ivory iOS app scheduled to come out?


In January itself. One of the devs said


Does Ivory implement searching?


Twitter writers are sharper in their wit. Funnier or at least more pointed. There is more verbose sincerity on Mastodon. Maybe that is good but even now, where I only check twitter surreptitiously, I laugh more on twitter.


The question I have with this move is why didn't Twitter just force advertising as part of their API for third party clients? Just change the TOS for using the API so if they didn't show advertising they would be cut off. What am I missing?


“Starting Feb 1st using a third part client will require Twitter Blue.”

That’s all it would have taken. Probably would have made a huge increase in subscribers too.

This is 100% a control move. He wants full control over how everyone experiences Twitter (not sure why). So this was pulled.

Of course you can NEVER go back from this move.


I think that is right. A public API radically slows down product iteration since each feature needs to be considered in terms of its blast radius to third party clients. It probably burned the bridge for good this time, but killing the API to speed up product velocity isn’t an insane move if you value that more than the existing 3rd party ecosystem.


That's not really true. Many websites version their API and/or release new features without providing support (at least initially) via the API.

That's the route Reddit has taken. There are several features that only work through the official app or website. It can be frustrating as a user of a third party client but it's a much better alternative to cutting everybody off.


What I said is definitely true - supporting that old version isn’t free - it needs to be maintained and all new features need to not inadvertently break it. I’m not saying this was necessarily a good move, but the upside to killing an API is you are able to cut any need to support any of it, including old versions.


The APIs for Twitter that they're cutting off aren't being cut off for other uses, though. This clearly isn't a maintenance issue.


I can't parse what you wrote - shutting down any API relieves some maintenence burden.


No APIs have been shut down. Specific apps competing with the Twitter mobile apps have had their access banned.


Thank you.


Twitter sets a dangerous precedent on API policy although this hasn't been their first time doing so (https://nordicapis.com/twitter-10-year-struggle-with-develop...)

With feature iteration at Reddit accelerating since 2019, they may opt to do the same eventually should a desperate squeeze of user metrics/ad revenue becomes necessary down the road. Public APIs helped Reddit rapidly grow its userbase on a lean crew. It'd be a shame to see that goodwill being burned in the never-ending chase for quarterly performance results.


How many people use third-party Reddit clients versus using third-party Twitter clients as a percentage of total users on each site? (I don't know—not a rhetorical)


3rd party clients were the only usable mobile clients for quite a while. Reddit acquired one of them and has been pushing it but AFAICT as a Reddit Sync user nothing has changed. I imagine they are still pretty popular.


While in general that may make sense, in the specifics of Twitter it’s just another unnecessary bad decision in a chain of unnecessary bad decisions.

The biggest issue isn’t what they’ve done but how they did it: dismissively, without warning, justified days later with a flimsy provably false excuse.

> A public API radically slows down product iteration since each feature needs to be considered in terms of its blast radius to third party clients.

Twitter’s public API was already lacking. There are several features, like polls, third-party clients never had access to. No one would be surprised if the API remained static forever.

> killing the API to speed up product velocity isn’t an insane move if you value that more than the existing 3rd party ecosystem.

The API wasn’t completely disabled, it’s still working for smaller clients.


In the last seven years Twitter already did not expose features like polls with their public API. Still, even with a less capable API many preferred the experience of 3rd party clients.


The public API is still there and not going anywhere. Twitter is getting the worst of both worlds.


This could’ve been communicated


Agree, really bad it wasn’t


I can't say I totally saw this coming, but when Elon started talking about the WeChat/Everything App/X, the writing was on the all for 3rd party clients.

Still, a very shortsighted move.


Wouldn't a WeChat type of approach mean encouraging third party clients/integrations/etc?


I don't think so, at least for (mobile) clients, but yes for server-side integrations.


Good point. :)


Integrations with third parties? Yes. Clients? No.


The writing has been on the wall for 3rd party clients since Twitter restricted API access the first dozen times pre-Elon.


Except not really, because they reversed course on that, added a bunch of new features, and continued to maintain and update it.

It never had feature parity with the site, but it did get better over time.


That's what I thought as well. They need money badly, and they have an obvious way to get it - monetize the API so that third party clients can continue using Twitter while building a business on top of it.

Yet instead of supporting the strong ecosystem they already have and nurturing a symbiotic relationship with it, they burn it all?


What are these 3 star comments I keep seeing? Bots? Is it the same kind of thing as when redditors comment "this" instead of just upvoting? It keeps cropping up with no explanation or context.


What is a 3 star comment?


>This is 100% a control move. He wants full control over how everyone experiences Twitter (not sure why).

The only thing I can think of is Musk was concerned the two largest 3rd parties would create their own network seeded with something like 66% of the most influential users.


They still should. Rather than shutting down third party Twitter apps they should all get together and just swap out Mastodon for the backend.


As has been pointed out many times, Twitter Blue will never be able to replace Twitter ad revenue, which was at > 1B per quarter at the time of the acquisition. I think this move is a reflection of someone at Twitter realizing that.


That's actually a really good idea


If they did some kind of revenue share (from Twitter Blue) with the third party clients their users are using, it might even provide useful funding for some of the otherwise non-commercial ones.


Twitter could think of this as a kind of lead-generation / user retention system.

Of course, Blue is essentially a bandaid of $8/mo/user over the gaping chest would that is the cost of the leveraged buyout ($13B) so I doubt Musk would consider tearing of pieces of that bandaid for goodwill or lead gen.


The list of unforced errors is insane. Remember when pg was banned from Twitter for mentioning that he had a link to Mastodon on his website? https://finance.yahoo.com/news/twitter-suspends-account-paul...


I followed some of that and it was especially funny that he had just been defending Musk and posting some "well he's a super-genius—you know, like all us rich SV types—so we should give him the benefit of the doubt" sort of stuff, right before that happened.

The whole thing was truly beautiful. Overall, Musk's acquisition has provided some excellent entertainment.


"It's remarkable how many people who've never run any kind of company think they know how to run a tech company better than someone who's run Tesla and SpaceX." - Paul Graham https://twitter.com/paulg/status/1592852796185128961


His quick turn around (there was some, "oh, huh, when you put it that way, perhaps he is making some questionable choices" interaction with another poster) right before the ban was maybe the most perfect example of "I never thought the face-eating leopard would eat my face!" I've ever seen. A moment of dawning realization an instant before the face gets eaten. It was perfect.


Twitter is not just a tech company; it’s a social network.


Move fast and break your $44B investment.


This was probably easier and the decision was probably made on a whim - no time plan and execute a transition like you're suggesting. I think this theory is supported by the fact that API access was cut with no notice, the ToS was only changed after-the-fact, and some smaller apps - like Twitterific for MacOS - were initially missed.


The absence of ad-tweets inserted into the API feed with an API term of "you must display these or we'll ban your app" was always weird.

That said, I bet that the real thing they want is the control to be able to push the Twitter Blue premium features, which I'm sure third-party apps would just sideline as much as possible even if they made them all available through the API.


Twitter had a decade to implement something simple like this and didn't. I assume that there are technical reasons that it's hard to do with their codebase and it's simply not worth the time and money to do so.


Ads come with tracking, so there's probably an issue of trusting all the data that apps would have to send back. Twitter would have to document just how much tracking their ads require, and 3rd party developers could balk at it and cause a stink. OTOH the first party app can track as much as it wants and it'll fly under the radar.


> OTOH the first party app can track as much as it wants and it'll fly under the radar.

Until you get caught, and Apple/Google decide to boot the official app from the stores (if) you broke the respective agreements.


I think there’s a pretty wide delta between tracking that is against App Store rules and tracking that would be controversial when written up on the Twitterific/Tweetbot blogs.


They could change the TOS, but actually enforcing would be difficult. You'd have to have something like the app store review process. And another goal here is probably to get everyone using the same clients so they have more control over the experience.


(speculation) they want to push everyone to use the official app so they can get as much user info as possible to sell. They want persistent location and all the other juicy stuff you can't get if a third party is standing in the way.


Plus didn't the apps have to pay for api access? I know there was some contention around that when the push notification api changed.


No, that was for firehose access when Twitter bought Gnip.

There was a big fuss over third-party clients being limited to 100k users. Twitter fairly quickly walked back that limit (with additional verification and rules specific to clients reaching that size being required).


The other weird thing is why only some 3rd party clients, was it the big ones that got cut? Harpy which I use seems to be working fine.


How could they actually enforce that? That'd need to review every app, constantly.


Because Musk shoots from the hip all the time. And he’s always smartest person in the room.


Shameless plug: I created a browser extension to help transition to Mastodon[0]. If you don't yet feel like you can leave twitter.com, but want to explore alternatives it's a great way to get started. Essentially it injects Mastodon posts into your Twitter timeline, so you can retain your existing Twitter following while getting exposed to Mastodon.

[0] - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mastodon-chirper/l...


Your extension looks fantastic. Is it cool if i sent you some questions?


Why you don’t post your questions directly, rather than asking if you can ask?


Reminds me of all the people who will send "hey got a minute?" or "hey I have a question" or simply "hey!" in a work DM and wait for a response. Just ask your damn question!


https://nohello.net/, I'm sending that to all of the offenders.


Please feel free. Email's on my website http://picheta.me


And so ends my daily use of Twitter. I still haven't been able to get into Mastodon in the same way, but if Ivory is as good as Tweetbot was it might bring me around.


It is as good as Tweetbot. Using Ivory makes most of the "UX issues" of Mastodon go away ... almost.


Same. I was having trouble with Mastodon. Nothing felt right from a UI design perspective.

With Ivory I feel at home. Can’t wait to start paying for it.


SAME


Honestly some days I forget I'm not using twitter. Same with the normal Mastodon web interface. Once you get into it properly it all kinda blurs away. Way more interactions on there than I had before too.


Lot more interactions but also less biting wit that makes me laugh. But no Elon so net win.


I have an old friend who is blind. The official Twitter client is a LOT less accessible than the one she was using. This change impacts her ability to use Twitter considerably.

And before you start with the "well, she's probably better off" -- she lives in a small rural town. Twitter and Facebook and the like are one of her few connections to a larger world.


The fact that Elon has disbanded the accessibility team at twitter probably already leads them into hot water related to this (It is not uncommon for orgs like twitter to be bound by multiple long term settlements related to accessibility suits that each have obligations of certain deliverables in this area.

If your friend truly does have issues navigating the site perhaps she may want to look to a legal remedy -- from all appearances that is really the only knob that seems to have any impact on Musk.


Has a social media site ever been forced to accommodate blind people? Serious question.


Every website accessible to the public has some responsibility to accommodate the disabled.

https://www.ada.gov/resources/web-guidance/

There are a lot of opportunistic/good hearted compassionate lawyers making a good business of shaking down smaller website operators for ADA compliance.


Damn patent trolls are missing out on this good lord.


I think a recent court decision in CA determined that unless the website is a front for a brick & mortar real world place, they're not subject to the CA version of those laws (Unruh). How that would play with the ADA rules, I don't know, but this article mentions both. I'm not sure this issue is at all settled nationwide, but my take is bringing that lawsuit in CA won't get you very far.

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/california-court-appeal...

Kind of a shame, because it was my first thought too--losing the accessibility team and then removing all the accessible clients definitely won't make Musk many friends among disability advocates.


I do wonder, as a late afterthought, though, whether the legal principle behind making your accessibility worse via negligence or deprioritization (the internal team) or lack of due diligence (these apps) could be different than whether the government could require you to include it in the first place.


Not really social media, but Netflix lost (settled) an ADA suit because they weren't providing subtitles consistently:

https://dredf.org/legal-advocacy/nad-v-netflix/


I believe just meta has encountered many dozens of ADA related lawsuits for everything from their use of disability information for ad targeting to web accessibility -- both government instantiated and civil cases.

I am fairly sure much of their accessibility work was instantiated by these lawsuits and settlements.

https://www.facebook.com/help/273947702950567


Has a social media site ever been forced to accommodate blind people?

Social media? Not to my knowledge.

But not having a website that's usable by the blind cost Target $6 million: https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/target-settl...


When is a good time to start holding them accountable?


It would be mind blowing to me and completely unexpected if twitter was not already under many active settlements related to accessibility lawsuits each with their own ongoing obligations.

There are very few large entities that have not been impacted by ADA lawsuits at this point -- even ones that had accessibility as a core value before the lawsuits.


Youtube to this day allows uploaders to disable automatic captions for some reason.


Because sometimes the automatic captions brutally butcher the text and can change the presenters meaning.


> official Twitter client is a LOT less accessible than the one she was using

She should submit an ADA complaint [1].

[1] https://www.ada.gov/file-a-complaint/


Was it this person?

> This makes me so sad. Your iPhone app allowed me as a blind person to use Twitter so much better than the app that they themselves produce. Sorry for the hostility you are receiving from them, but know that you are appreciated for the hard work you’ve done.

> Maybe the best thing anyone's ever told us. Thank you for this, truly. It is everything. Please take care.

https://mobile.twitter.com/RustyHilliard77/status/1616174474...


No, but I guess my friend isn't the only blind person in the world who uses Twitter. Class action lawsuit?


I'm hoping some of the new Mastodon clients come out have great accessibility features.

At the very least, one of the core features of the platform is it (at least on web) highly encourages captions on images for accessibility :)

(I know there is the issue of where people she was following on Twitter may not move over etc, sadly)


She's still probably better off, because what happens next to Twitter will continue to be less and less pretty.

The sooner people jump off the ship, the better for each of them.


Where will she jump to?


That is the challenge. Musk's tantrum has made an already-solved problem for a lot of people something they now have to re-solve. I'm generally recommending Mastodon to people (and can recommend a handful of specific nodes), but nothing auto-replaces Twitter.

Point is, unfortunately, Twitter's dying and its prognosis is poor. We can imagine it'll get better but the realistic strategy is to bail.

(My previous post lacked empathy, and I apologize for that. Some billionaire asshole spent a lot of money to break something that worked for a lot of people. That's not fair to them.)


I would take those node recommendations. I've dipped my toes in, but don't have the wherewithal right now to really figure out how to find what's worth following.


What I did was use fedifinder to find all the people I already followed on Twitter and bootstrapped my account that way. It shows you what the most common instance is among the people you follow which is a good recommendation to choose that for signup, and then you can naturally find other people to follow through their boosts.

Also you don't have to fret about what instance you start off on. I started with one of the generic instances and then after a week of lurking I migrated my account to an instance that I wanted to join (which moves over all your followers/followings but not your posts)


- mastodon.social is the closest thing Mastodon has to a "main" node. With the pros and cons associated with that. Given the relative youth of the experiment, I'd be a little concerned about whether admins can keep up with the growth, but it's probably the best of the "no opinion" options.

- qoto.org: member of United Federation of Instances. Relatively inclusive (and has some interesting extensions running on the base Mastodon service), but not necessarily federated to all the instances mastodon.social is federated to because they don't have a strict "Nazis fuck off" policy.

- mastodon.lol: antifa / LGBTQ+ / hacker-friendly node. Strict "Nazis fuck off" policy.

- infosec.exchange: InfoSec-focused Mastodon node, but pretty open with a pretty regular policy.

I think the strategy I'd probably recommend for a new user is something like "Join at mastodon.social, follow some people, and lurk. If you see many people you like who live at a particular node, migrate to that node."

(And honestly, unless a defederation fight breaks out, 90% of nodes are pretty interchangeable with each other; you can follow anyone the node federates to so it doesn't matter over-much which node you're on unless you want some specific features or you want admins who have a particular attitude towards your bugbear-topics).


This discussion thread is rife with options like Ivory, Post, etc.


Tweetbot was the only way I interacted with Twitter for years. I refuse to use the website and I refuse to download Twitter's app. When it was finally revealed that this move was intentional I deleted my Twitter account. I was mocked in high school for having a Twitter account (2008) and not a Facebook account. I remember "tweeting" from my flip/dumb-phone. I still don't have Facebook.

I don't regret being on Twitter but I am learning to live without it these days. There's something freeing about a cold turkey detox from that increasingly hostile social network.

Anyway, I'm just rambling at this point. RIP Tweetbot. Thank you for making Twitter usable. Eagerly awaiting Ivory.


100% concur, but don't delete your account. Don't let someone else take the username. Delete your tweets and wipe your profile, but let it sit dormant. Forever.


It won't be forever. I remember Musk saying awhile back that they were going to flush inactive accounts at some point. I agree with this. Why should a username remain reserved if it hasn't been logged into for years?


Mainly because of "Login with Twitter". There isn't a proper way to tell downstream systems who have authenticated against Twitter that "The account JohnDoe is now a different user than they were."

Basically the same principle used to hijack accounts by buying an expired domain that had email addresses associated with it.


probably because my username is my first initial and my last name, and I don't really want someone impersonating me on a platform that I've used as a key social media presence since 2007?


If it's a key social media presence for you then that means you're logging into it and using it, so there is nothing to worry about.


Right, but if I delete my account, and someone takes my username, people who have known me over the past 15 years will probably think that's me (and whoever takes the username can very easily exploit that fact). Username reuse enables impersonation.


I have no idea if I still have my Myspace, Tribe.net, etc. accounts. Someone else might’ve taken them over by now for all I know and for all I care.


A fine approach. For me personally, I decided to delete my account so I wouldn't ever be tempted to log back in.


I literally cannot use the official app. It is absolutely dire, and I've basically stopped using twitter as a result. I've got a lot more time on my hands now, I'll give Elon that.


I just don't see the replacement for Twitter as Mastodon -- which it seems the Tweetbot people are targeting.

Twitter will likely file for bankruptcy later this year due to the debt burden. However, the replacement for Twitter won't be a Twitter "clone." Things will move on. I'm not smart enough to know what people will move on to... But they will move on.


It may very well be that there is not a single 'replacement' for Twitter. One might argue that this is actually a good thing. Monolithic services pretending to be some kind of 'public' space is a lie.


I said the same thing even a few weeks ago, but the momentum for Mastodon is growing rapidly and it's really impressive to see, and Ivory is a very impressive client even in beta.

Almost everyone I followed on Twitter is using it now, and I actually prefer the experience. It's like Twitter but without all the bots/spam/hate, at least for now.


Server fragmentation is still kind of a pain point for Mastodon, but perhaps a better thing in the long term as it also gives us the ability to have a feed with more focused topics.

The good thing is most people I follow on Mastodon have stopped talking/complaining about Twitter unlike the first few weeks of the migration wave. The platform can only thrive when it hatches original content.


What is "almost everyone"? Four people? Using it on what server?

Mastadon is more like Discord than Twitter. There is no core server. There is no core experience. It's just an instanced message board.


That’s not my experience at all. I follow all kinds of people I followed on Twitter before. And they use all kinds of instances (some even migrated from instance to instance – I wouldn’t have noticed if they hadn’t mentioned it).

Using Ivory my experience is eerily similar to Twitter. Why do you think it wouldn’t be? If a critical mass of interesting people is there it just works.

I don’t really use the local timeline at all, that‘s just not relevant to me.

Obviously this will be wildly different for everyone depending on how many people made the move. For me personally and how I used Twitter it just works (and Twitter proper was getting more and more deserted and uninteresting anyway).


I don't know why Mastodon is hyped up so much. I do not have an account on it as I have some concerns. My understanding at the current time is that a server can be run by a single random individual, they can read your DMs as they are not encrypted, and they can kick you off the server if you write anything the server operator does not agree with.

At least with Twitter, it was a corporation with rules and procedures.


> At least with Twitter, it was a corporation with rules and procedures.

"Rules and procedures" that didn't prevent a teen from hacking them a couple of years ago. The teen tricked Twitter employees to give their credentials, and the employee credentials gave him access to actual twitter accounts.WHich shows a singular lack of process and lax permissions practices from such a big company. And I'm not sure they'll fare better now that most of their workforce has been fired...


> At least with Twitter, it was a corporation with rules and procedures.

I would submit that was is a load-bearing word in that sentence. Twitter as it exists now effectively is run by a single random individual who can read your DMs and kick you off the server if you write anything he does not agree with. Bans have gotten weirder, stupider, and more mercurial since Musk's takeover (the Tweetbot/Twitterrific bans arguably being a particular case of it), and the "Twitter Files" are a result of him giving activist-journalists access to unencrypted DMs without permission. (I'm not interested in debating whether the subjects covered in the Files prove some kind of malfeasance on Twitter's part; that's orthogonal to the point I'm making here.) Twitter may have had rules and procedures a few months ago. Now it has Elon Musk making decisions by polls he pinky-swears to abide by the results of.

In practice, major, established Mastodon instances with tens of thousands of users may well be less likely to treat their users (and developers) as badly as current Twitter is.


>Twitter as it exists now effectively is run by a single random individual who can read your DMs and kick you off the server if you write anything he does not agree with.

I wouldn't count it as a benefit for Mastodon that its servers basically have the same form of management as Elon Musk Twitter.


> My understanding at the current time is that a server can be run by a single random individual, they can read your DMs as they are not encrypted, and they can kick you off the server if you write anything the server operator does not agree with.

Yes, just like any service on the Internet. I really don’t understand how the fact that anybody can run a Mastodon/Web/email/whatever server makes the whole thing not reliable; you just have to choose a server that suits you.


I don't really understand this argument. DMs on Twitter aren't encrypted. Now Elon can go read them. Same with kicking you off. With Twitter you're done. At least with Mastodon you can go to another server.

You can even run your own server if you want. But, if you're being a jerk your server might get de-federated.


> I don't know why Mastodon is hyped up so much

Among tech-folk, it's hyped up because it's federated, with the hope that if it succeeds it brings us back to the original design of internet services like E-mail and Usenet where everything isn't centralized and owned by a single corporation where you have to live by the whims of it's advertisers.

> they can read your DMs as they are not encrypted

I have yet to send or receive a DM on Mastodon, I'm not even sure how you do it. As long as you know this fact, just don't send sensitive info in DMs? It's not a core feature of the platform so I don't understand why it's looked at as such a deal-breaker.

> they can kick you off the server if you write anything the server operator does not agree with

But, with Mastodon, you can just join another server with different rules if that happens. On Twitter, if you offend Elon, he kicks you off and now you have no recourse. Mastodon is strictly better in this regard.


You mean like rules about what is allowed for third party clients and procedures for denying them access?

How is that working out?


On twitter I followed 1004 people, and was followed by 680. Mastodon: following 381 and followed by 202. They're across lots of instances; it doesn't make a significant difference.

I'm finding Mastodon generally better than Twitter a few months ago, and far better than Twitter today. The "For You" thing Twitter keeps shoving at me is just _nonsense_, and the "Following" section is a bit of a howling wasteland a this point.

> Mastadon is more like Discord than Twitter. There is no core server. There is no core experience. It's just an instanced message board

Have you ever actually _used_ it? This seems like a peculiar view of it.


From your description I’m not sure you understand Mastodon. People who don’t know about it and read your description will get the wrong impression, at least.

You can follow someone on any Mastodon server from your account on any server. It’s not siloed like Discord (which, ironically, actually is a centralized service!) - it’s much more like Twitter than Discord in real use.

There may be no official ‘core experience’, but there is a de-facto ‘core experience’: a stream of posts from people you follow, from any server, in chronological order.


I agree with everything you said, and also want to point out Twitter doesn't really have much of a "core experience" shared across its entire userbase either. Trending topics and promoted tweets on Twitter are largely determined by your language, location, who you follow, and interests Twitter has determined you have. You and another Twitter user are going to see very different content shown to you even beyond the things you subscribe to.


Maybe I don’t.

So what happens when a server gets deleted? Isn’t your account bound to that server?


Somewhere in the middle.

There’s a way to migrate your account to another server, including keeping follower relationships intact (so people don’t need to follow you again - they’ll automatically follow the new account). Past posts don’t get migrated though. If the old server is still running your past posts remain there.

If the server just suddenly shuts down with no notice, though, there’s nothing you can do.


I use the standard mastodon client and follow people on many different servers. I was surprised, but most everyone I followed on Twitter moved - even the non-techies.

It feels exactly like Twitter to me now, except less noise.


72 users spread among 34 servers, but the number of servers doesn't matter since you can follow anyone on any server


I wonder what happens after that?

40B acquisition to bankruptcy sounds brutal. I'm sure there's some nuanced financial way they can recover and continue but wow.


Elon almost certainly has enough money to keep funding Twitter until he gets bored with it and moves onto something else; which, granted, might not even take a year. It's hard to say what happense at that point but my guess is that he sells it for a fraction of the purchase price. Twitter has a big enough network that there will be something left in the wreckage that someone can try to rebuild from.

Bankruptcy could still happen of course, even if Elon still has the money. He might think that completely shutting down Twitter is less embarrasing than selling it for a 90% loss, Elon is still pretending to be a business genius after all.


> Bankruptcy could still happen of course, even if Elon still has the money. He might think that completely shutting down Twitter is less embarrasing than selling it for a 90% loss, Elon is still pretending to be a business genius after all.

We do not know the reality. He has cut the payroll significantly (despite the severance since that is a 1 time burden), he has added paying customers with Blue, and by killing the API, he increases those paying customers. He can also browbeat or schmooze some large customers like Apple to advertise more. It may not be enough but a smaller profitable or cash flow positive twitter could still run for a while before he feels the pinch.

Not sure if he can make the billion dollar interest payments, but imagine if twitter can make 800M, and his Tesla stock goes up double, he would not feel a pinch bridging the remaining 200M although he may try to get someone else (or the company) to pay for it.


If it was to go bankrupt, it's unlikely it would just be _shut down_; the creditors would take it over and install new management.


At over a billion a year in interest payments to just service the debt is going to be hard. Twitter, before Elon, was already losing a couple hundred million a year. It has to be worse now.

I do agree that Morgan Stanley and the other financiers are going to be the kids without a chair when the music stops.


> Twitter, before Elon, was already losing a couple hundred million a year

Twitter's business was making a profit in 2018 and 2019, but then 2020 happened (because 2020), and in 2021 they had a $800 million class action settlement to pay (without that it would have been $600m profit), and then in 2022 Elon tanked the company in the 4th quarter.

The core business was (just about) profitable before Elon. It was just far below the FAANG-level expectations from a tech company.


>in 2022 Elon tanked the company in the 4th quarter

Didn't Elon basically ruin almost the entire 2022 since the buyout offer was in April and caused uncertainty throughout the year?


Elon had backers for the twitter purchase, they're going to be left holding the bag. They're probably desperately hoping he'll leave and install a permanent CEO as promised ASAP


Is there a specific reason you think it won’t be Mastodon?


Hi ABM. Good question. Here is my perspective (I could always be wrong).

I listen to a number of news podcasts and they still tell people where to find the hosts on Twitter. I have yet to hear someone tell people how to find the author on Mastodon. Never.

News personalities are the bread and butter of Twitter. They are normies (compared to most of us).

Mastodon had its five minutes of fame when Elon started making changes. I was quietly rooting for it, but I think it will be tough.

That's why I don't think Mastodon is going to replace Twitter anytime soon.


> I have yet to hear someone tell people how to find the author on Mastodon. Never.

How does a host say an email address? They might say john@reallycoolpodcast.co.uk

How does a host say how to find them on Mastodon (or ANY ActivityPub based platform)? They might say john@reallycoolpodcast.co.uk


> How does a host say how to find them on Mastodon (or ANY ActivityPub based platform)? They might say john@reallycoolpodcast.co.uk

Tell a non-techie "@johnsreallycoolpodcast" and there's a good chance they'll figure out it's a Twitter or Instagram username.

Tell a non-techie "john@reallycoolpodcast.co.uk" and they'll think it's an email address or at best infer the website URL from that.

Tell a non-techie there's a social media platform called "Mastodon" and they'll look at you funny, and after the initial awkwardness they'll dismiss it because they don't understand (nor care!) about the whole decentralisation aspect of it and how to navigate its inherent downsides.

Having Mastodon use email-like identifiers is a cute technical detail but is not only completely irrelevant for non-techies but actually hurts adoption as it's less recognisable than an "@username".


> Tell a non-techie there's a social media platform called "Mastodon" and they'll look at you funny,

They would look at you funny before Twitter was a thing too.

Or Instagram. Or Facebook.

People will figure it out. It becomes popular. It's not unknown.


Nextgrid, I completely agree.

If I borrow one from Sirius XM...I listen to POTUS... and a host named Julie Mason who is on early in the mornings will say "for more information follow me @ Julie Mason on Twitter."

People figure it out.


Speaking as someone who had mostly been using the first party twitter app in recent years and so wouldn't have been impacted by this even if I was still actively using twitter, this seems pretty poorly done by Musk.

Shutting down third party clients? It's arguably a valid decision. They presumably want to consolidate the users into directly controlled clients, where they can be advertised to and can have premium subscription features prominently featured. The former could have been rolled into the API, but the latter would have been basically impossible.

But doing it like this is just giving everyone who was a hardcore twitter user (if you use a third party client, particularly one you're paying a subscription for...) a nudge into jumping ship. The alternative approach of announcing the "no more third party clients" API terms change and giving everyone time to wind their apps down would also have generated complaints, but I bet it'd have gotten them better press and user outcomes than this. Hell, just announce "you must have a Twitter Blue subscription to use a third party client" and that might have actually gone well for them.


Very true. But announcing it ahead of time and providing time for a wind down also would've required a comms team.


Musk could have just tweeted "As we focus on increasing the velocity of developing new features we don't want the baggage of maintaining the legacy API for clients so we're going to wind down support for third-party clients in a month from now." and it would have headed off like 70% of the hate. You don't need a comms team for that.


How would that require a comms team?

PS: let me clarify a bit. I'm not saying that Twitter should not have or does not need a comms team or that getting rid of them was not a stupid thing for Musk to do.

What I'm trying to say is that this latest stupid thing (not giving any warning about changing their app API rules so that app developers and users could have some time adjust) doesn't really have anything to do with the lack of a comms team. It's not one of the stupidities that naturally falls out of not having a comms team.

In this case all that was needed was for Musk when he decided to change this policy to (1) tell whoever he ordered to implement it to deploy it on $FUTURE_DATE, and (2) tweet that he'd ordered this change and it will go live on $FUTURE_DATE.


One of the many values of a good communications team is that they communicate in both directions. They’re not just mouthpieces for the company, they know the customers and users and market as well. A good comms team will tell the company when users are confused about something; a great comms team will tell the company _before_ users get confused at all.

By shutting down the comms team, Musk isn’t just saying that he doesn’t want to play by corporate communications rules, he’s saying that he doesn’t want to _listen_ to anyone, either.


comms teams are great, but how hard is it to post a simple straightforward writeup about the upcoming change? heck he even announced a bunch of other stuff from his personal account before, even promising to put stuff like this up for voting. confused


> and can have premium subscription features prominently featured. The former could have been rolled into the API, but the latter would have been basically impossible.

Not so, clients have exclusive keys (whose supply has been highly restricted since they were introduced a few years ago, making gaining any sort of grounds with new clients a challenge).

Twitter could have made the validity of these certs / keys conditional on subscription integration.


> Twitter could have made the validity of these certs / keys conditional on subscription integration.

With what staff?


Oh, I didn't mean letting the clients support them, I meant making the clients support them and feature them how Twitter wanted them to.

E.g. if they wanted to change the notifications defaults everywhere to showing the "verified" notifications first, as a way to promote sales of Twitter Blue... good luck getting the third party clients to go along with that without some serious coercive micromanagement.


> Oh, I didn't mean letting the clients support them, I meant making the clients support them and feature them how Twitter wanted them to.

So did I.

No feature no key, no key no third party client.


Sorry, I misinterpreted you -- I thought you were talking about gating features to specific clients. :D


> Hell, just announce "you must have a Twitter Blue subscription to use a third party client" and that might have actually gone well for them.

I've been wondering too why they didn't do this. That would at least get them some quick revenue.

Could it be that they didn't want to keep supporting the API?


The API is still up though - all my things that use the API are currently working fine[1].

[1] But none of them "replicate the Twitter experience", just bots and archivers.


Won't this hurt Elon in the long run? I was never able to stand the official Twitter app it's filled with ads and irrelevant clutter. I think since moving to Android Tweetbot is one of the few apps I miss from having on my phone. I was still enjoying the Mac version. I guess I will stick to Nitter [0] from now on.

[0] - https://nitter.net/


Won't this hurt Elon in the long run?

Maybe, but compared to the rest of the damage he's done to his brand this is a relatively tiny droplet. This may drive away power users (or drive them to a Twitter-owned option?), but many of them are probably already looking at how much priority they should keep on Twitter. Twitter client issues for many may be a second place to Twitter content issues as a driving factor.


> filled with ads and irrelevant clutter.

I always assumed the third party clients just provided a better interface. I didn't realize they circumvented the income stream.

If the third party clients were removing the means of monetization, for a company who struggles to profit, then it seems obvious that requiring paid access on its way, regardless of the owner. Twitter can't go forever at a loss.

The "surprise" is surprising.


> Twitter can’t go forever at a loss.

But for nonrecurring expenses, Twitter was profitable before Musk’s buyout both torpedoed ad revenue (when it was announced, before it was even completed) and saddled it with massive expenses to finance the buyout.

The acquisition is literally the only reason it is any concern how long Twitter can operate at a loss.


> Twitter was profitable before Musk’s buyout

My mistake. Last I looked was 2020, when they were down about $1B.


I think it's more that the API didn't return the ads to the client. If they required 3rd party clients to include the ad's in the feed and grounds for termination of the API key if they weren't that would be a different story


What service does this? There are very strict rules in showing ads.

Making sure you're not showing them by nsfw content, etc. or your advertisers will pull out.

I can't think of a single service that provides ads for 3rd party clients to use.

Most are hostile to 3rd party clients due to threatened ad revenue, that's why there's invidious, nitter, etc. whackamole.


> Making sure you're not showing them by nsfw content, etc. or your advertisers will pull out.

Which you can control by just returning the ads as part of the API response for the feed, which I'm sure how the official client does it. Making the client classify NSFW content and hide ads based on that seems like a stupid idea.


Certainly, but the second you get a rouge actor, your advertisers are going to be pissed.

At the very best the rouge app won't display ads.

At the worse, they'll ignore a nsfw tag and won't show the spoiler overlay, angering your advertiser.

Audits can catch it, but only after the damage is done.

I don't think there's any service that lets their ad supported plan be in the hands of a 3rd party client.


Enforce it on clients over a certain number of users where they are big enough to manage following a bunch of rules around the ads. Then they can be audited to make sure they get doing it correctly.


Yeah it can be done with X amount of risk and auditing ($)...

I was mainly asking has it been done by any service?

Risking your advertisers is not wise and audits will be expensive and reactive not proactive.


Without the debt Musk put on Twitter they could at least go longer


It depends. Probably imo, but this speeds up product development significantly and frees up a ton of resources in exchange for alienating a lot of users and the network effects of an API. Who knows if this kind of analysis was considered, but it’s not obviously a bad move until we see if Twitter starts doing faster product revs that pan out into growth.


There is also Nitter for Android (WebView-app), but source repo not available for a month already.[0,1]

[0] https://gitlab.com/Plexer0/Nitter-Android

[1] https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.plexer0.nitter/


By "app" do you mean the twitter website (because that's all i ve used). Why would one need an App to read a list that s basically full of browser links?


Because the experience is better. That's the only reason anyone needs. Whether or not it's an App is immaterial.


Do you run nitter self hosted? The most popular server seems down for me


Most people don't use third party clients, so no it won't.


This is a terrible decision just from the optics perspective - alienating those who are more likely to be power users.

But how many people do they seriously expect to install the official Twitter app instead? I, for one, will not; as the privacy page on the App Store basically makes me "steer clear".

Whatever percentage of 3rd party clients they get to switch over seems like a rather dubious trade-off to all of the bad press, and the terrible manner in which this was executed.


Honestly a very confusing move for Twitter, third party client users are probably the easiest to monetize users that Twitter has. They have already demonstrated that they get enough value out of the service to go out of their way to use a different client, potentially one that they pay for. Make them pay some monthly fee and everyone is happy?


Has any company tried revenue sharing with 3rd party clients?

Imagine a free tier of tweetbot got a slice of ads clicked in it. Premium ad free modes could be shared too.


I've been on twitter since 2009 and have 100k+ tweet. Since they've killed all third-party clients I've basically stopped using twitter, and have no intention of using the (bad) official client. Good job Elon!


to all the people who claim this, i wish there was a RemindMe! feature to check back in a few months

People who have invested years of their lives writing thousands of tweets aren't giving up investments so easily. This is like real life investments or relationships, it takes a lot to break them


The difference here is that Twitter had been going downhill for a while before the recent changes. In 2022 people were already using it grudgingly, out of inertia. Not addiction or excitement.

Even before Musk, I consciously anticipated that a disruption to my chosen chronological feed client would mean the end of my time on Twitter. I prepared for it. I've started to wean and haven't missed it as much as I assumed I would. It's a relief as much of an imposition. I've tried out other ways of browsing content.

There's no one service that will end up being exactly what Twitter was, but neither had Twitter been for a while. The various degradations of the experience over the last few months only had to be bad enough to get us to realize what we already sensed, that Twitter is in its Facebook era. It will still be running in 5 years because it's too big to die quickly. But it's on the downward slope of its cultural relevance. A year from now it will be the equivalent of that-site-your-grandparents-use.


chronological feed exists in twitter's website before and after musk - it's how i use it


The value of past tweets, like the value of old newspapers, is very low. It's not investment that matters but habits. Those people who's habits haven been disrupted are already disrupted so moving on for them is much easier.


I used TweetDelete to wipe out my 30,000 tweets to help me along

I've been having more fun on Mastodon this past month than I had on Twitter for the past year or so. It feels more like an old-school web forum somehow.


> People who have invested years of their lives writing thousands of tweets aren't giving up investments so easily.

I dunno, my Twitter posting rate has been dropping because there's enough people on the Fediboat now to make it interesting and I only have a certain amount of attention span to go around.

    2022-09: 326.00
    2022-10: 312.00
    2022-11: 241.00
    2022-12: 99.00
    2023-01: 64.00
Whereas my Fediboat posting has gone up.

    2022-09: 3.00
    2022-10: 55.00
    2022-11: 222.00
    2022-12: 296.00
    2023-01: 118.00


I actively used my account since 2007, and I’ve completely deleted it. It’s ruined and I want nothing to do with it anymore.


I wondered, once Musk bought it, how long I'd stay. He's transparently awful, and clearly has no idea what he's doing -- except when he's being aggressively, deliberately terrible -- but I kept checking my Tweetbot feed anyway because I followed a lot of interesting people there.

Then one morning not long ago, Tweetbot wouldn't connect, and I knew immediately what had happened. It seems really, really dumb. I mean, years ago Twitter experimented with trying to force everyone onto their own app, but even then pre-Elon I knew that I didn't want Twitter to become like Facebook. I wanted a chronological feed of the things the accounts I follow posted, and that's all. I don't want to see anything else. I don't want the service to give me shit algorithmically.

Tweetbot gave me that. I figured that as long as i could have that, I'd use Twitter. Now that I can't, I'm out.

And it seems very, very likely that the most interesting and engaging accounts on the service -- which is to say, the ones that make people want to participate -- likely feel similarly, since so many of them have been very verbal fans of Tweetbot or some other 3rd party tool for so long. The tl;dr here is that axing 3rd party clients is just the latest in a long line of very, very stupid things this guy is doing.


Everyone is talking about mobile clients, but what about social media companies and businesses that integrated Twitter into their CRMs? At the very least I know businesses that had Twitter directly into their Salesforce, SAP Cloud Integration, and even Teams via Power Automate.


They're unaffected; the ban is specific to replicating the Twitter.com / first-party app experience. Exact wording: "a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications".


> They're unaffected…

This seems plausible, but has there been any official confirmation?

If I'm Elon, my next act of ecosystem warfare is to monetize remaining API use cases to within an inch of their life.


My work involves using those APIs; our keys are still active. We'd rapidly hear if entire apps like Salesforce had lost their access as part of this, too.

The new wording in the terms forbids "use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications".

If I had a Tweetdeck competitor I'd not be investing too much into it, and I think anyone working with the APIs now has to do a bit of "is it worth the risk?" calculus, but at the moment there's no sign this goes beyond third-party clients to consume/post timeline stuff.


Buffer and Hootsuite have both said that they are unaffected


Buffer has Mastodon support in beta, so they're at least hedging their bets.


Tweetbot was the client that made Twitter fun to use. Now I'm lost and can't stand using the service. Trying to figure out how to maintain my contacts on the platform while navigating the site has been awful. What a terrible experience it is. I'll probably try the Twitter app but I am hopeful I can keep up with everyone on a different platform someday.


Use https://www.movetodon.org/ before they block their API key too.


Why are they having the funeral less than 2 weeks after a "suspension" of the API, after 10+ years of work?

Twitter under the new management is making rash decisions but also has been reversing many.

I still have Tweetbot app on my phone in hopes that it's temporary. Has there been anything definitive to say that won't be the case?


It’s a two person company. Elon killed off the #1 source of revenue and refused to say anything for days. When they did, it was a lie.

Let’s say they reverse course again on Tuesday and say 3rd party clients are back.

Would you bet your entire livelihood and business on Elon (or whoever in the future) keeping their word?

That sounds ridiculously risky.


Twitter changed their Developer Agreement yesterday, the main change is that it now includes this:

> You will not or attempt to (and will not allow others to) ...c) use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications;

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34448524


Ah I see. Thank you. RIP indeed =(


They have huge number of annual customer renewals coming up. This includes me. The question as they themselves pointed out is whether they wait or fight and sort it out differently, but if they do not, then by canceling early they avoid heartburn with all those people who will get charged for the renewal.


Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. This was likely the last straw after years of worsening API restrictions. They might have hoped things would improve under Elon. This is evidence things will only get worse.


Where's the poll?


If they leave the app up people will start requesting refunds which could kill the company.


I really like how they have their own Mastadon instance. That's better than any "blue checkmark" ever could be. Wondering if @ivory@tapbots.social is the real Ivory app account? Well... the domain is company domain!

A cool business idea would be to host a Mastadon instance for celebrities, where everyone is verified, and there's no open registration at all. It's more of a branding company than a tech company, but then you would know that if you see @barackobama@bluecheck.social, it's the former president.


It'd also make it really easy to defederate the 'celebrity' instance, or block the whole domain as an individual user.

A win for users by giving them the ability to limit their exposure to celebrity culture but I don't see a huge upside for clients of the 'celebrity instance' if they want to promote themselves.


A great opportunity Mastodon wouldn't otherwise get. Thanks Elon.


A part of me is curious what would happen if all of these 3rd party clients banded together to create their own separate backend - surely it wouldn't be that hard to get a clone of Twitter going. There's likely a strong correlation with people who use 3rd party clients and people who are power users, so you'd have a strong social network from the start.


I agree, it seems like the obvious move since there is an installed base. But, how much of that installed base is able to be monetized to support the ongoing costs of operation of this backend? Aren't most of these clients free?


I mean, some of them are working on Mastodon clients so it's already happening.


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