Twitter applauded for new emergency feature

Kerem Gülen
May 3, 2023

Twitter has recently made a significant announcement on its API usage policy. The social media giant has revealed that it will be offering its API for free to accounts that post public announcements related to crucial information such as weather alerts, transportation updates, and emergency warnings.

The new policy will particularly benefit verified government or public-owned services that frequently share vital public utility alerts. The eligibility criteria for accessing the free API service will be limited to accounts that meet the specific guidelines set by the company.

This move by Twitter aims to facilitate easier access to critical information for users and ensure that essential messages reach the public quickly and efficiently.

“One of the most important use cases for the Twitter API has always been public utility. Verified gov or publicly owned services who tweet weather alerts, transport updates and emergency notifications may use the API, for these critical purposes, for free,” tweeted the official Twitter Dev account.

Image source: Unsplash

Twitter introduced new pricing tiers for its API earlier this year, with a cap of 1,500 tweets per month for users on the free tier and 3,000 tweets per month for those on the $100 basic tier. However, these restrictions proved insufficient for public service announcement accounts, who require greater flexibility to disseminate essential information to the public.

Consequently, the National Weather Services (NWS) account expressed its concerns over Twitter's new policy and stated that its automated tweet posting capabilities had been significantly limited. Similarly, the Metro Transit Service (MTS) in New York announced that it would no longer use Twitter to operate its public alert system through various accounts.

The recent shift in Twitter's API pricing policy has had a widespread impact on several third-party tools and services that rely on the platform's data. For instance, in April, Microsoft was forced to remove Twitter from its social media sharing tool for advertisers due to the increased costs. At the same time, Flipboard also announced that its integration with Twitter had stopped functioning, citing the new API pricing as a significant factor.

Furthermore, last week, WordPress disclosed that users of its Jetpack Social product would no longer be able to share their posts automatically on Twitter due to the platform's revised API pricing policy.

Although Twitter has made its API free for certain government-run services, such as those providing critical public utility alerts, there is still no clear indication of what the future holds for disaster management accounts that have come to rely on the platform to coordinate emergency responses.


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