Twitter Will Limit What Third-Party Apps Can Do, Starting August 16th

Twitter is set to roll out new policy changes on August 16th, which will effectively limit what third-party Twitter apps are capable of doing.

The changes will create two major roadblocks for third-party apps:

  • Third-party apps will no longer be able to stream tweets in real-time.
  • Push notifications will be either delayed or prevented altogether.

These changes will not break third-party apps, but it may limit some functionality that users have grown accustomed to.

Without the ability to stream tweets in real-time, users of third-party apps will have to manually refresh their feeds in order to see the latest tweets.

However, that may not even be an issue depending on how an individual uses a particular app. Streaming live tweets is typically a feature that can be turned on or off, and some users prefer to refresh manually anyway.

Mobile apps usually have a convenient pull-to-refresh functionality, removing the ability to stream tweets prove to be a bigger issue for third-party desktop apps.

When these changes come into effect on August 16th, desktop apps can still request that a user’s timeline be refreshed, but the apps will be limited in how often they can submit those requests.

Push notifications will either be severely limited, or removed completely from third-party apps as a result of these changes. In addition, the push notifications that remain will be delayed by one or two minutes.

Twitter plans to offer a way for developers to buy access to a new API that will enable access to the features that are being removed, although access will be so expensive that it will likely price most developers out of the market.