Say Goodbye to Twitter's Free API: Developers Brace for New Paid Tier

Feb 3, 2023
Updated • Feb 3, 2023
Apps, Twitter

Starting February 9th, Twitter API will no longer be free to access. The Twitter developer account made the announcement late Wednesday night. While Twitter hasn’t announced more details about the pricing, it said that it will introduce a paid basic tier.

What Is the Twitter API?

The Twitter API (Application Programming Interface) allows any third-party to retrieve public data and analyze it. This data from Twitter is used to create bots and apps that connect directly to the platform. Some examples include Pikaso and Thread Reader. 

Currently, Twitter allows free access to its API. In addition, it also provides premium tiers for developers that need access to endpoints and unlock additional features. While Twitter did not disclose the price of its premium API tiers, it was reported in February 2022 that the fees started from $99 a month. This fee increased depending on the access level needed.

Who Does This Affect?

The decision to remove the free access to the API is a follow-up to the action taken by Twitter’s development team, when they banned third-party clients. This caused various apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific to abandon their work on the platform.

In the past, various small developers have taken advantage of the free API access to create bots and tools for everyone’s benefit. This recent development will cause these bots and tools charging a fee or shutting down completely. Various scientists and students also use the free API to gather information for their research papers and study online behavior.

Why Did Twitter Do This?

After the announcement on Wednesday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted stating that various opinion manipulators and bot scammers have abused the free API. He claimed that charging a nominal fee of $100 a month with ID verification will clear up the mess. 

What’s Next for Twitter?

This was just another step where Elon Musk is trying to make money and save his sinking ship. His goal is to clear the company’s loans as soon as possible. Some efforts in this direction included laying off about two third of their staff, charging $8 monthly subscription for user verification and the blue tick, and selling off various company assets after several offices were shut because of non-payment of rent.


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  1. Tom Hawack said on February 3, 2023 at 5:55 pm

    I don’t use Twitter, no account. But I do call upon Nitter (a free and open source alternative Twitter front-end focused on privacy and performance) once in a while, directly or for redirected Twitter links.

    Will the new Twitter API policy impact Nitter? · Issue #783 · zedeus/nitter · GitHub

    The developer’s first answer is :
    “It’s very unlikely Nitter will be affected since the APIs aren’t used in the official way with developer credentials. I’m slowly moving stuff to use their newer GraphQL APIs anyway, so if it breaks it’ll be fixed soon-ish”

    I hope so.

    1. Anonymous said on February 4, 2023 at 4:43 am

      I wonder how Nitter can get the data without API. Scraping? Isn’t GraphQL API is still API? What’s the difference?

      Nitter is good solution for Twitter RSS subbing, shitty social media nowadays don’t have RSS and companies are updating their shit on their social media.

      1. John G. said on February 4, 2023 at 9:35 pm

        @Anonymous I just asker myself the same questions, however is a propietary API needed for third party apps? I am not quite sure it could be possible without some kind of emulation.

  2. SteveB said on February 3, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Bit of a slanted article and following the current trend of bashing Musk. Now I have no brief for him, don’t use Twitter nor drive one of his cars or have anything to do with any of his other ventures, BUT why should everything be free ?

    You try pulling on the heartstrings with ‘small developers’ and ‘Various scientists and students ….. gather information for .. research papers and study …’ so they benefit as some charge for their work, others get PhDs, ehanced profile, increased influence etc, so again why should access be free ?

    On the other hand, you don’t focus on ‘ various opinion manipulators and bot scammers have abused the free API’, so again, why should access be free ?

    1. David Smith said on February 4, 2023 at 2:27 am

      It’s a bad move by Musk. Some of the bots are what make Twitter great. However, I aslo don’t appreciate the slant. Musk has done good and bad things for Twitter, and it wasn’t great before him (CP for example flourished and it was very left leaning), but there’s already too many sites Musk bashing for every little thing and I’ve already unfollowed a many of them. Same for sites pushing mastdon… its insecure and suffers from many of the problems of old Twitter. Be different, ghacks, be better.

    2. Mystique said on February 3, 2023 at 5:08 pm

      The fact that twitter was running perfectly well before Musk got his grubby little hands on it is doing a good enough job to determine the way I feel about him and the platform. There has literally been nothing good that has come from Musk taking over twitter and this is just another one of those examples.

      People are either looking to leave twitter (perfect time for a new comer to fill the void), have left twitter or riding it out hoping he will up and quit and sell it to someone that is vastly more competent or finally those that are devoted Musk fans that can see no wrong in what he does no matter what.
      This simply was a bad move for everyone including himself but his ego would not let it go.

      I suspect this is more to do with trying to limit third party app developers to filter out ads and various other BS that nobody wants to see from Twitter.

      1. John G. said on February 3, 2023 at 11:40 pm

        @Mystique > The fact that twitter was running perfectly well before Musk got his grubby little hands on (…).

        Before Musk Twitter was a pure heaven for the ultra-left woke people, with a several distorted idea about what’s freedom and persecution against the people who thought different than them. Now it’s more equitable. And obviously less disgusting considering it as a whole. Anyway, from a point of view of mental health Twitter is a massive inferno. Thanks for the article!

      2. Yash said on February 4, 2023 at 9:12 am

        @John G.
        ‘Before Musk Twitter was a pure heaven for the ultra-left woke people, with a several distorted idea about what’s freedom and persecution against the people who thought different than them.’
        I would assume this was written as sarcasm. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Thanks for the comment :)

      3. John G. said on February 4, 2023 at 9:32 pm


        “Musk arrived at Twitter with an approach that I am sure he thinks is pretty straightforward. The site, he believes, has a leftwing bias that should be corrected by allowing suspended users back on to the platform. The accounts of Donald Trump, Kanye West and Jordan Peterson have been reinstated, along with nearly all those that were suspended for falling foul of old Twitter’s rules on abuse and hate speech.”

        Nesrine Malik, The Guardian, Mon 28 Nov 2022 06.00 GMT.

      4. Yash said on February 5, 2023 at 1:50 pm

        Don’t know what you want to say there. Musk can think whatever he want in his head. Fact is Twitter wasn’t perfect before he took over but it wasn’t bad either. This idea that somehow Twitter was an ultra-left heaven, hate to break it to you but it had hell lot of right wing content. Content that in normal world would’ve people being laughed at as an idiot. However since Musk took over it is now pure sewer.

        This is what those quote mean. I think you took them out of context. Never too late to get some reading lessons.

    3. Hans said on February 3, 2023 at 11:41 am

      Why does every Musk defence always start with ‘I dont have an opinion on Musk’.
      While this change is no a big issue (you may like it or dislike it; it is business model decission), his bullshit and clearly made up excuses are annoyin as hell. Esp. for someone who is claiming to be transperant and honest. As if a paid API would prevents bots (btw. didn’t Musk claim that they already got rid of bots?)

    4. Yash said on February 3, 2023 at 11:28 am

      Musk fan spotted.

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