Shortly after Twitter said it would start charging developers for using its API, the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, is now somewhat backtracking on that decision. Over the weekend, Musk tweeted that after reply to some comments (opens in a new tab)Twitter will offer a new “lightweight write-only API for bots” as long as they provide “good free content”.
THE the original plan was to charge users about $100 a month to use the API, supposedly to stop “robot scammers and opinion manipulators” from abusing the software (and presumably earning money to pay off the platform’s massive debts). form). In response, there was a massive outcry from users who said the new rules would kill a lot of useful bots and fun and gimmicky accounts due to high costs, up to $3,400 per year. according to a developer. (opens in a new tab)
Who knows how this latest Twitter saga will end up playing out, as a lot on the platform remains up in the air at this point. But, if Musk sticks to this new decision, your favorite Twitter gimmick could live on, and it could all be thanks to Pepito the cat.
Of all the comments in this API debacle, the only post to which Musk replied directly is one from @PepitoTheCat (opens in a new tab). The person running the account argued that the new rules could kill him, elevating his place in Twitter history (after joining over a decade ago) and posting “quality content with a great commitment”.
While the content in question is nothing more than the titular Pepito entering and exiting his house through a small cat door, it seems to have been enough to make Musk think twice about the rule change. Additionally, the impulsive CEO hints at giving verified Twitter users API access for “good content” similar to @PepitoTheCat, but doesn’t elaborate further.
While it might seem a little silly to focus so much on a gimmick account, it does call into question what Musk considers “good content” in his eyes. The fact that he replied directly to @PepitoTheCat and not a dying developer (opens in a new tab) on how the changes would destroy research and activism projects on the platform alludes to his thought process.
This could mean that content relating to animals or something rather milquetoast is considered good while accounts like @ElonJet are bad, even if they aren’t doing anything illegal. It’s hard to read anything because of how often Musk flip-flops on Twitter policies. Apart from the API, it had the platform ban journalists and links to competing social media sites; both cases were met with an avalanche of backlash.
tons of questions
There are still a ton of questions in our minds like what does a “light write-only API” look like and how will it compare to the paid version? Its launch is still scheduled for February 9. Also, will free bots created under the new rules be moderated? This could be a challenge given that the company has laid off many of its global moderation team (opens in a new tab).
We would seek clarification from Twitter, but the platform does not allow the press to contact them directly outside of tweeting Elon Musk directly – which we did. If Musk ever responds, this story will be updated later.
If you’re still looking for that social media fix, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of best alternatives to twitter.
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