Twitter Stops Whitelisting Applications

Much to my dismay, I read that Twitter has stopped whitelisting applications. What does this mean? Ryan Sarver updated everyone on the Twitter development Google Group that developers could no longer request to be granted a higher number of API calls through the API. This does not apply to the streaming API, because that API does not require the use of a high number of API requests.

This sounds fine, until you really think about what the announcement says. Even the beginning has some bad news:

Beginning today, Twitter will no longer grant whitelisting requests. We will continue to allow whitelisting privileges for previously approved applications; however any unanswered requests recently submitted to Twitter will not be granted whitelist access.

So, they are not disabling the whitelist, they are just not approving anyone else. That means if you were already approved, nothing changes. If you had not been approved yet, then you are out of luck. Hopefully you can get around this problem with the new streaming APIs. In many cases, the streaming API should be helpful for application developers assuming they can get the amount of data that they really need.

I was not terribly disappointed until I read this next batch of text:

We also want to acknowledge that there are going to be some things that developers want to do that just aren’t supported by the platform. Rather than granting additional privileges to accommodate those requests, we encourage developers to focus on what’s possible within the rich variety of integration options already provided. Developers interested in elevated access to the Twitter stream for the purpose of research or analytics can contact our partner Gnip for more information.

What this means is that if you can’t create your application using the existing API limits, then you are stuck or you can go pay Gnip. Yeah, or “focus on what’s possible” which basically ignores the basic concepts that Twitter was built upon. When Twitter started, its goal was to change how people communicated. Does that sound like a company that wants developers to “focus on what’s possible”?

What Twitter has essentially done is decided that they have had enough support from the small developer. Twitter’s ecosystem is big enough, so if you are one developer with an idea, you better hope it fits within the constraints of the API. If it doesn’t then you need to use the streaming API, which you don’t really get access to the full data either. Twitter keeps telling developers what we need, but fails to realize that each change has further constrained those very developers that made their ecosystem so strong. Twitter has bailed on the smaller developers. I am definitely disappointed.

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