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Twitter adds a glass ceiling for app developers

Timur Emek/AP

The biggest takeaway from Twitter's new API announcement is they're trying to phase out third-party clients eventually, but for now they're just setting a glass ceiling to stop them from growing. 

On Thursday evening, Twitter unveiled the guidelines for the new API they're calling V1.1. Most of the additions are under-the-hood changes that only developers will care about, but buried at the bottom is the way Twitter's really changing the way we, the users, consume our Tweets. They're imposing a cap on the number of users a third-party app can have. If an app wants more than 100,000 user tokens -- or, more than 100,000 people using their product -- then they have to ask for special permission. Per Twitter's company blog:

Additionally, if you are building a Twitter client application that is accessing the home timeline, account settings or direct messages API endpoints (typically used by traditional client applications) or are using our User Streams product, you will need our permission if your application will require more than 100,000 individual user tokens.

We will not be shutting down client applications that use those endpoints and are currently over those token limits. If your application already has more than 100,000 individual user tokens, you'll be able to maintain and add new users to your application until you reach 200% of your current user token count (as of today) — as long as you comply with our Rules of the Road. Once you reach 200% of your current user token count, you'll be able to maintain your application to serve your users, but you will not be able to add additional users without our permission.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

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