March 25, 2023

Breaking News Breaf

Twitter will shut down automated accounts that don’t pay starting Thursday (but there may be exceptions)

Certification of an account at an uncertain price, critical journalists suspended then reinstated, dismissal of half the staff of Twitter, flight of some of the survivors… The life of the social network is shaken by the orders and counter-orders of its new owner. Twitter announced last Thursday that starting Thursday, February 9, free access to its API will be closed.

Elon Musk explained a few hours later that a price of 100 dollars per month would “clean up”, this service being, according to him, used by many scammers and opinion manipulators.

The sequel after the ad

An API (English acronym for “application programming interface”) makes it possible to create applications from Twitter data. We can thus create a bot (automated account) which publishes tweets of updates, or which facilitates the use of Twitter.

Threadreader, for example, creates on demand a web page displaying in a single text the messages of a thread (or “thread”) of tweets following. Pikaso takes screenshots of tweets, with custom settings, etc.

Service accounts can publish regular information on a given topic: weather, seismology (136,000 subscribers to this account dedicated to large earthquakes and tsunamis)… Example with one of the earthquakes of this Monday, February 6:

More besides indicate plane arrivals and departures at airports, publish their own discounted flight offers, display the snow conditions in a region (here, Utah), etc. In Quebec, the account Vaccelerator listed last-minute Covid vaccination appointments through mid-2021.

The sequel after the ad

Farewell Pepito, farewell opossum…

Less utilitarian but sometimes highly regarded, many game accounts are threatened with extinction. Possum Every Hour (nearly 580,000 subscribers) publishes, as its name suggests, one photo of an opossum per hour and, like other accounts of this type, it announces its cessation from February 9.

Another very popular animal, Pepito the cat, who with a camera connected to a cat flap, offers his 210,000 subscribers to follow the passages of the eponymous cat.

Exceptions for certain accounts?

Many of these accounts are unlikely to pay the monthly $100 announced by Elon Musk… subject to further changes on his part. In the case of the Pepito cat, the billionaire replied on February 3, consider giving all verified accounts (which pay at least 8 euros per month for this, an open service last week in France) access to the API “for publications [« posts »] like that “. It would then remain to know according to which criteria the accounts would pass or not…

Twitter: Is Elon Musk (already) scaring away advertisers?

And a new announcement from Elon Musk, who wrote on Sunday February 5 that bots publishing “good content” would be entitled to a lighter and free API.

In the meantime, the new procedure for certifying accounts (for a fee) seems very vague: according to the tech news site Numerama, no identity check is required. Suffice to say that far from blocking the thieves of the Net, this new system only seeks to capture a new source of income.