3 min

Twitter has unveiled three subscriptions for its API that users or organizations can take advantage of. A free, basic and enterprise subscription. Looking at the details, Twitter is excluding many developers. The subscriptions are fine, but the limits set are disappointing.

Twitter’s new subscriptions to the API are going to give many developers headaches. While there is some to choose from with three subscriptions, most developers are going to end up with the very expensive enterprise subscription.

Twitter Free API

The first subscription is free and aimed primarily at bots posting quality content. With it, a developer can make 1,500 requests to the API to post Tweets. Reading Tweets via the API is impossible.

Twitter Basic API

The Twitter Basic API is going to cost $100 per month. This allows a developer to send not 1,500, but 3,000 requests to post Tweets. In addition, it can send 10,000 requests to read Tweets on Twitter. Note that these will only be recently posted Tweets.

Twitter Enterprise API

If we’re being completely honest, the Twitter Enterprise API subscription is all that matters. Twitter doesn’t list a price on its website for the enterprise API, but we cannot ignore the reports online about a pricetag of $42,000 per month. We didn’t add zero’s, forty-two thousand dollars per month. Which immediately makes it unaffordable for many small and medium-sized developers. Many developers cannot afford this.

For that money, however, you do get a lot more access to the Twitter API. No limits are listed, but you do get to search Tweets from the past 30 days, as well as the entire archive. You also get access to the PowerTrack API, Historical PowerTrack API, Decahose API and Engagement API.

Also read: Twitter feed will only show verified accounts

Old APIs disappear within 30 days

In addition to introducing the new API subscriptions, Twitter also announced that access to the old APIs, including Standard (before v1.1), Essential, Elevated and Premium would be revoked within 30 days.

Researchers and academics expressed concern about ending API access

The idea behind these subscriptions is that they would hinder spam and hobby projects. Academics, however, are the victim in this case. They can now no longer do research on Twitter either. Twitter’s announcement mentioned that it is “looking at new ways” to serve the academic community but gave no information about possible solutions.

Researchers can, of course, subscribe to the free, basic or enterprise API, but that will quickly become ineffective for academics. The basic subscription is too small, while at the same time, the enterprise tier is too expensive for projects with limited budgets.

In recent months, Twitter’s actions have alienated the developer community, halting several developer projects and putting others into a sleeping state. The question is whether this move will be well received.

Twitter is trying to come clean

Twitter’s intention seems clear. It wants to put up a hurdle and clean up the social network by imposing a threshold for spambots and trolls. The question, however, is whether this plan has been thoroughly researched. Developers with legitimate purposes are reporting that they need to abandon their projects. Only a few companies are willing to pay $42,000 a month. Making the API less attractive for spammers is a good thing, the question is whether the price tag or the limits of the basic subscription, are well chosen.

Tip: Elon Musk now values Twitter at just $20 billion