Twitter Makes Several Changes to Its Developer Policy

Twitter detailed several updates to its developer policy Wednesday.

Head of API (application-programming interface) policy Donald Hamblock said in a blog post that since the social network implemented its new developer review process in July 2018, it has reviewed over 1 million developer applications for API access, approving 75% of them.

Hamblock added that Twitter continues to remove bad actors from its platform, with 144,000 app suspensions over the past six months.

He said of the updates, “We want to empower and inspire more developers to build with Twitter, especially as we work on the next generation of the Twitter API. Having a clearer, more relevant set of developer rules will make it easier for people to understand how they can be successful building with Twitter. That’s why the new developer policy is written in clearer language, shortened from eight sections to four and updated to reflect the diverse ways developers build on our API—today and in the future.”

The updates introduced Wednesday include:

  • Academic researchers can now use the Twitter API to study areas such as spam and abuse of its platform, for non-commercial research purposes.
  • Researchers can also share an unlimited number of tweet IDs and user IDs if they are doing so on behalf of academic institutions and for the sole purpose of non-commercial research, such as peer review.
  • More guidance was provided for instances when developers need to change the use cases for their apps.
  • Saying, “Not all bots are bad. In fact, high-quality bots can enhance everyone’s experience on Twitter,” Hamblock added that developers must indicate in their account bios or profiles if they are operating bot accounts, what the accounts are and who is behind them.
  • Twitter’s developer policy now outlines specific scenarios where data matching off-Twitter is and is not permitted, in order to protect users’ privacy.

Hamblock said language in the Twitter developer agreement was updated to better align with the policy changes.

Looking ahead, he added, “The future of the Twitter developer platform is bright. As we continue to build the next generation of our API, we are also exploring new products that will give developers the ability to leverage Twitter data and enhance the public conversation in new ways. We are proud to offer the community an open API, and we want to continue to improve upon what’s available there.”

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