Twitter Tightens Rules for Third-party Apps Developers, Says 'Stop Copying Official Apps'

Twitter is clamping down on all the third-party client applications that duplicate the service's official apps, a statement from company developers said Friday. In a Google Groups post, Twitter's Ryan Sarver explained that a consistent user experience was ''more crucial than ever'', with the company's commitment to that idea evidenced by the company's April 2010 […]

Twitter is clamping down on all the third-party client applications that duplicate the service's official apps, a statement from company developers said Friday. In a Google Groups post, Twitter's Ryan Sarver explained that a consistent user experience was ''more crucial than ever'', with the company's commitment to that idea evidenced by the company's April 2010 purchase of Tweetie and subsequent release of the official Twitter iOS app.

Sarver issued a sort of "State of the Platform" announcement, which was essentially a warning for third-party Twitter client developers that Twitter intends to be the primary interface that all consumers use. Or, as Sarver put it, the "primary mainstream consumer client experience on phones, computers, and other devices." With that in mind, the Terms of Service for third-party developers has been changed.

Sarver explained that new third-party clients that mimic the official Twitter experience are no longer acceptable.

''Developers have told us that they'd like more guidance from us about the best opportunities to build on Twitter. More specifically, developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no,'' he said.

While existing third-party apps won't be shut down, Twitter will be holding them to ''high standards'' when it comes to user privacy, consistent user experience, and the site's Terms of Service.

"But we will be holding you to high standards to ensure you do not violate users' privacy, that you provide consistency in the user experience, and that you rigorously adhere to all areas of our Terms of Service. We've spoken with the major client apps in the Twitter ecosystem about these needs on an ongoing basis, and will continue to ensure a high bar is maintained."

Sarver says this move is to create a "less fragmented world," with a consistent Twitter experience across all platforms, and then goes on to cite some Twitter applications in "key areas where ecosystem developers are thriving." These include Data tools like Klout and Gnip; publishing tools like SocialFlow, Social CRM, enterprise clients and "brand insights" like HootSuite, CoTweet, Radian6, Seesmic, and Crimson Hexagon. Also included in the list were value-added services like Instagram, Foursquare, Quora, and Formspring.

Reference: TOS

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