Twitter Breaking Third-Party Clients in June (Updated) »

On June 19, Twitter has said it will be disabling “streaming services,” which is how third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific can stream the timeline and send push notifications. The replacement, the Account Activity API is not available to third-party developers:

The new Account Activity API is currently in beta testing, but third-party developers have not been given access and time is running out.

With access we might be able to implement some push notifications, but they would be limited at the standard level to 35 Twitter accounts – our products must deliver notifications to hundreds of thousands of customers. No pricing has been given for Enterprise level service with unlimited accounts – we have no idea if this will be an affordable option for us and our users.

This means that starting in June, third-party Twitter clients will only be able to offer a manually-refreshed feed, which itself will be rate limited by Twitter. Push notifications will be a thing of the past.

If this comes to pass, I think I’ll be on Twitter far less than I am today, and while that may be a good thing for me personally, it’s bad for the developers of these apps, and bad for Twitter itself. The company should fix this.

Update: Twitter has responded:

Even though Twitter has pushed out the date to … sometime in the future, it’s still unclear if the new API can offer everything the old streaming one does.

However this turns out, unless Twitter really changes direction and embraces the third-party app that made its service great in the early days, these apps will always be on thin ice. That’s a shame.