Twitter’s recent move to put its API behind a paywall has caused concern for some emergency and transportation agencies that use the platform to disseminate critical information.
The Twitter Application Programming Interface (API) enables third parties to access and analyze public Twitter data. The API is used for various things, such as programmable bots, or separate apps that connect to the platform, like Thread Reader, which turns Twitter threads into easier-to-read text blocks.
In a tweet sent out on Tuesday, the platform has reversed its decision to charge for API access for “verified gov or publicly owned services who tweet weather alerts, transport updates and emergency notifications,” via The Verge.
One of the most important use cases for the Twitter API has always been public utility. Verified gov or publicly owned services who tweet weather alerts, transport updates and emergency notifications may use the API, for these critical purposes, for free.
— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) May 2, 2023
The move has been welcomed by affected agencies, some of which had already left the platform due to issues posting alerts following the paywall implementation. It’s worth noting, however, that the free API access is only available to concerned verified accounts.
It’s worth noting that Twitter still offers a free version of its API. The free version of Twitter’s API limits users to 1,500 automated tweets per month, with pricing increasing for higher tiers. While hobbyist Basic tier costs $100 per month, a “low-cost” enterprise plan can reportedly cost up to $42,000 monthly. This pricing setup is not ideal for emergency and transportation agencies that must send several automated tweets daily to alert users of emergencies or travel delays.
This reversal of Twitter’s decision to charge for API access for verified government and publicly owned services shows that the Elon Musk-owned company is committed to supporting critical information dissemination during emergencies. However, only if the accounts pay Musk $10 monthly to get verified.
Via: The Verge