What exactly is Twitter? That’s a question some are asking as the company continues to close down services from competing companies that are based around the core 140 character social phenomenon. The latest to be affected is TwapperKeeper, which has been forced to shut down its API and archiving features after Twitter complained that the company wasn’t following its Terms of Service agreement.
TwapperKeeper founder John O’Brien believes this may be the start of a cull in Twitter-related companies:
What I’m seeing is, anybody who is ‘syndicating’ content, ie allowing it to be downloaded and exported in any structured way, is running afoul of the terms of service. If it’s in HTML, it’s fine. The minute it became structured it became a problem.
TwapperKeeper wasn’t the first company to be affected by Twitter’s new enforcement policies; last week, the company suspended UberTwitter and twidroyd for violating policies, only to unsuspend them the next day. Twitter’s official response? That this is business as usual:
We ask all developers in the Twitter ecosystem to abide by a simple set of rules that are in the interests of our users, as well as the health and vitality of the platform as a whole. We often take actions to enforce these rules; in fact, on an average day we turn off more than one hundred services that violate our API rules of the road. This keeps the ecosystem fair for everyone.
If Twitter keeps closing down satellite services that it doesn’t like the look of, the question becomes whether Twitter will start adding these services itself, or whether there’s another solution available – like said companies paying for licenses that allow them to keep doing what they’re doing. What is Twitter? Looking at the current evidence, the answer may be “Something that’s decided to start taking monetization very seriously.”
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