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Twitter Restores Free API Access For Public Services

Twitter restore free access to its application programming interface for verified government and publicly-owned services that tweet "critical purposes".

Twitter shut off its free API, an infrastructure tool that allows for multiple computer programs to work together, earlier last month breaking a lot of apps and websites that relied on the social network’s free developer tools. The social website has however decided to restore free access to its application programming interface for verified government and publicly-owned services that tweet “critical purposes” such as weather alerts, transport updates, and emergency notifications.

“One of the most important use cases for the Twitter API has always been public utility,” said Twitter’s official account @TwitterDev in a tweet. “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.”

The shutoff of Twitter’s free API resulted in hundreds of indie developers shutting down their Twitter-based apps due to the new pricing which forced emergency weather alert accounts and public transit alert accounts to also announce they would no longer be able to provide real-time service alerts on Twitter. At the time, Elon Musk claimed the new API pricing was being implemented to kill off the bots.

“Yeah, free API is being abused badly right now by bot scammers & opinion manipulators. There’s no verification process or cost, so easy to spin up 100k bots to do bad things.” Musk tweeted. “Just ~$100/month for API access with ID verification will clean things up greatly.”

It should be noted that Twitter already had a paid tier of service for its API but under its new pricing, free access to the API ​only allows developers to write 1,500 tweets per month. The new free tier of the API no longer provides the ability for developers to access tweets, only create them.

As for the paid plan, there’s a Basic tier which is $100/month and the starting price for the Enterprise plans is a whopping $42,000/month. With Basic, Twitter classifies it as being for hobbyists or students and it only allows access to 10,000 tweets per month. You can also write 50,000 tweets per month with this plan.

Under Elon Musk’s leadership, Twitter has been making rapid changes to the platform with the intention to boost revenue and one of these was the revamping of Twitter Blue, the company’s paid verification service which costs $8 (approx. UGX30,000) through the web or $11 (approx. UGX41,000) in-app. Organizations seeking verification pay a monthly fee of $1,000 (approx. UGX3.7 million) and $50 for each additional affiliate sub-account.


Winnie Nantongo

Winnie is a tech reporter with a passion for digital media & communications.
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