Third-party Twitter clients are often handicapped by the platform by a limit of 100,000 users for new developers and are not able to implement features found in the official client. The latest restriction threatens to impact fundamental features like push notifications and automatic timeline refresh.

Developers of major Android and iOS apps banded together today to describe the issue that will come to a head in June. In response to the developer and ensuing user protest, Twitter has delayed the launch of the new Account Activity API that does not provide suitable replacements for third-party developers.

Namely, the ability to send push notifications and live updating tweets are not available in the new API that switches from a focus on “client app product features” to “data features and access.” Before today’s response, Twitter ignored “requests for clarification and guidance” from the makers of TalonTweetbotTweetings, and Twitterrific.

Twitter also did not provide a way to “recreate the lost functionality” and didn’t grant these third-party developers access to the beta before the deprecation. While push notifications might be possible with the new API, it’s unclear what pricing model Twitter will impose and whether it will be affordable for these developers and apps. However, automatic timeline fresh will not be possible, with updating rate-limited by Twitter and resulting in possible timeline delays.

In its response, Twitter notes it is “committed to providing ample time to migrate,” with at least a 90 day notice. However, it’s unclear whether there will be changes to the API in response to the developer and user outcry.

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Abner Li

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