From "Businesses" To "Tools": The Twitter API ToS Changes

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Yesterday, Twitter made a swift and sweeping move to alter their ecosystem. In an email to developers, Twitter laid out the new rules. Essentially, third-party developers should no longer try to compete with Twitter on clients; instead they should focus on things like data and specific verticals for tweets. Not surprisingly, there’s quite a bit of backlash against this maneuver.

In making these changes, Twitter also had to chance their API Terms of Service. And we thought it would be interesting to compare the old ToS to the new one. We can do that thanks to the magic of Google, which has a cached copy of the ToS dated January 3, 2011.

Below, find the key redline changes. Overall, you’ll note that the document is now much more strongly and directly worded than it previously was. And it’s clear that user privacy is also more of a focus than before. But the key change may come in the first paragraph:

January 3 version:

We want to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable businesses around the information flowing through Twitter.

March 11 version:

We want to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable tools around the information flowing through Twitter.

Now perhaps you see why the ecosystem, the “partners”, are so enraged.

(Note that this isn’t the full document below, just the sections with the main changes):

[photo: flickr/velo steve]