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IFTTT.com forced to pull Twitter triggers
110 points by robgough on Sept 20, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments
This is the email they've been sending out to users:

Dear robgough,

In recent weeks, Twitter announced policy changes* that will affect how applications and users like yourself can interact with Twitter's data. As a result of these changes, on September 27th we will be removing all Twitter Triggers, disabling your ability to push tweets to places like email, Evernote and Facebook. All Personal and Shared Recipes using a Twitter Trigger will also be removed. Recipes using Twitter Actions and your ability to post new tweets via IFTTT will continue to work just fine.

At IFTTT, first and foremost, we want to empower anyone to create connections between literally anything. We've still got a long way to go, and to get there we need to make sure that the types of connections that IFTTT enables are aligned with how the original creators want their tools and services to be used.

We at IFTTT are big Twitter fans and, like yourself, we've gotten a lot of value out of the Recipes that use Twitter Triggers. We're sad to see them go, but remain excited to build features that work within Twitter's new policy. Thank you for your support and for understanding these upcoming changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at support@ifttt.com.

Linden Tibbets IFTTT CEO

*These Twitter policy changes specifically disallow uploading Twitter Content to a "cloud based service" (Section 4A https://dev.twitter.com/terms/api-terms) and include stricter enforcement of the Developer Display Requirements (https://dev.twitter.com/terms/display-requirements).

Sorry Twitter, but Fuck You. You went from being useless to useful then back to useless.

I had set up 10 different actions using the Twitter IFTTT interaction. These actions specifically notify me of emergency alerts and breaking news through the Pushover Channel.

I have alerts for breaking news from local media, I have emergency alerts from my university campus, and I have emergency weather/safety-related alerts.

Without much technical knowledge, I know of no easier way to receive these alerts, since they are being posted specifically to Twitter.

I didn't care too much about the restrictions on 3rd party clients. But this is directly influencing how I perceive my personal safety in this tech-filled world. As soon as we convinced people to post important messages to twitter, we remove the ability to notify ourselves of them? That's malicious.

I sympathize with how this inconveniences you and you make some excellent points about emergency information being trapped with inside Twitter... but from their perspective you're just not an engaged enough user. You should have your nose in your Twitter stream all the time so you don't miss these kinds of important tweets (or tweets from sponsors about the new Ford Focus).

That people can consume content without consuming it from them is exactly what they want to avoid.

You should have your nose in your Twitter stream all the time so you don't miss these kinds of important tweets

-- Signal to noise ratio. Needed in any emergency.

But this in conflict with Twitter's biz model/direction. That's the problem. This is a negative, step back for a use of the service more valuable to society. The "eyballs" to sell "stuff" biz model is not a great contributor to civiliation. Arguably, twitter has more potential.

if only there was some kind of real simple syndication technology one could subscribe to that wasn't rapidly falling out of fashion...

Twitter is also removing RSS feeds and many people now only post to Twitter instead of blogging.

But, you realized this would be the case when Twitter introduced it's new API restrictions recently, right? I'm not sure why the angst now - the big deal was a month or so ago when Twitter made clear what direction they were taking their API. This is just the implementation of that policy change.

I browsed the restrictions and sort of understood how they changed the game for 3rd party clients, but this is something different, isn't it?

Obviously Twitter is still benefitting from IFTTT publishing to their platform. It would then be a mutually beneficial relationship, then, when IFTTT benefits from Twitter's platform. Twitter is a leech.

It's not that IFTTT violates their terms directly, but twitter triggers give IFTTT users the tools to violate the terms.

The terms in question:

"You may export or extract non-programmatic, GUI-driven Twitter Content as a PDF or spreadsheet by using "save as" or similar functionality. Exporting Twitter Content to a datastore as a service or other cloud based service, however, is not permitted."

So do I own my tweets or not? If I own them, can't I decide what to do with them, such as storing them in a cloud service? Twitter can't have it both ways.

You own the content of your tweets. But you don't own the instance of the tweet that is stored in Twitter's database. They are are under no obligation to make it easy for you to save them ex post facto.

If you want to archive / cross-post your content you need to store it some place that you have ownership over. Whether than be a word document, spreadsheet, open source microblogging software, or whatever else, you shouldn't expect a media/advertising company to provide CMS features, that's not why they exist.

I'm working on a new service that archives users' data and I wanted to include their tweets. Now I'm unsure if I'm allowed to do that, even on the users' behalf.

You're not allowed to do that.

My thoughts exactly. Do I own my tweets or not? I don't see how having a service outbound my tweets anywhere would be a violation.

You need to post them into a service that you have control over (maybe an open source microblog that runs on your server for example) and then cross-post into Twitter.

Is Twitter's policy that the users do own their tweets? I never heard that claim before. I would have assumed not.

This is really annoying. I've been using IFTTT to e-mail all of my tweets and mentions to a dedicated e-mail address for archival purposes. Looks like I need to quit publishing via Twitter if I can't keep backups.

I've been doing a very similar thing (but appending all mentions to a note on Evernote). I found it pretty useful.

Suggestion for anyone pissed off (at Twitter) by this: Check out https://rstat.us/ . It's a completely open microblogging platform, and at least for now, you can log in using your Twitter account (via OAuth) and cross-post all your Rstat.us updates to Twitter.

I've been meaning to try it for some time and this news compelled me to do it. Seems to work fine. You can follow me there if you like: https://rstat.us/users/graue (not really trying to promote myself though, my updates are pretty boring) Also, I have no relationship with the people who made this site, but they seem pretty passionate about open platforms.

I don't think IFTTT supports Rstat.us right now, but it would be great to see them add it.

If I'm understanding this straight:

google+: a network that restricts that people _write_ via their website/apps.

twitter: a network that is now starting to restrict people to _read_ only via their website/apps.

technology does evolve and diverge in lots of directions.

Except Google+'s non-writeability is more a symptom of Google's crappy API support than anything else. They built a product, and didn't really put any time in to make it a service or a platform.

I think it's apathy rather than malice on Google+'s part.

Indeed, Google Maps is just about the only polished public API they have. It's really unfortunate that Google is so unfriendly to developers regarding their products.

Google derives their primary revenue from advertising. APIs allow developers to sidestep advertising in displaying Google's content. Ergo, it is not in Google's best interest to allow easy free access to their content, via an API or otherwise, in a place where they cannot control how the content is displayed.

I don't completely agree with this reasoning but I can see why they don't just throw build APIs everywhere.

yep. And honestly, I've been okay with google's model so far, at least until their websites and apps become littered with ads like facebook.

Aside from companies (and sociopath friends) using hootsuite, I've never really heard of anyone using a third-party facebook website or app to post.

See also the discussion here:


Net Neutrality is the reason the Internet has driven online economic innovation. It protects our right to use any equipment, content, application or service without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher-quality service and which to demote to a slower lane.

This would be the same for APIs, which are too often driven only by business when investors strategies come in the place. Stay open for an API without discrimination and tiering on data access and re-use is giving trust to all your ecosystem for building future business on it. Don't respect it is enfrenging the API neutrality concept.

More on what would be API neutrality here : http://api500.com/post/31465739810/what-is-api-neutrality

No new information here, surprised this didn't hit sooner when twitter first changed their policy?

Presumably one can still get the content from http://gnip.com/ just not directly via Twitter's API?

It's war! Kinda.

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