Twitter Suspends UberMedia Clients For Privacy And Monetization Violations, Trademark Infringement

Well this is interesting. According to this post, Twitter has suspended UberTwitter and Twidroyd for violating its policies.

The action is even more fascinating considering that UberMedia, which operates UberTwitter and Twidroyd, is building an army of third-party Twitter clients, including Tweetdeck, that compete directly with Twitter’s web and mobile clients.

Here’s the response we received from Carolyn Penner, Twitter’s spokeswoman:

We ask all developers in 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.

Today we suspended several applications, including UberTwitter, twidroyd and UberCurrent, which have violated Twitter policies and trademarks in a variety of ways. These violations include, but aren’t limited to, a privacy issue with private Direct Messages longer than 140 characters, trademark infringement, and changing the content of users’ Tweets in order to make money.

We’ve had conversations with UberMedia, the developer of these applications, about policy violations since April 2010, when they first launched under the name TweetUp – a term commonly used by Twitter users and a trademark violation. We continue to be in contact with UberMedia and hope that they will bring the suspended applications into compliance with our policies soon.

Wow. This is war, and allegations of privacy violations and trademark infringement are serious. By way of history, UberMedia has been scooping up third-party Twitter applications left and right, buying UberTwitter, EchoFon, and Twidroyd. In April 2010, they launched as TweetUp, then they became PostUp, and then, following the UberTwitter deal, they became UberMedia. And the company just raised a boatload of money as well.

In terms of the privacy and monetization violations, details are unclear. The trademark infringement most probably refers to the terms UberTwitter or Tweetdeck, since Twitter frowns on the use of either Tweet or Twitter in a third-party developers name. From Twitter’s side, it appears that the company has been expressing its views on these issues for nearly a year. But we’d love to heard what UberMedia’s side of the story is.

We’re working to get UberMedia’s response to this sudden turn of events. Something tells me this is going to get ugly.

Here’s a copy of the email sent to users:

Dear xxxx,

Regardless of how you access Twitter, we are dedicated to making Twitter better, faster and more reliable for you. As part of this effort, we ask applications that work with Twitter to abide by a simple set of rules that we believe are in the interests of our users, and the health and vitality of the Twitter platform as a whole. We often take actions to enforce these rules.

We are sending this email today because we suspended twidroyd for violating our policies.

Every day, we suspend more than one hundred applications that are in violation of our policies. Generally, these apps are used by a small number of users. We are taking the unusual step of sending out this letter because today’s suspension may affect a larger number of users.

We are committed to helping you continue to use Twitter during the disruption of this application. You can download Twitter for Android and other official Twitter apps here. You can also try our mobile web site or apps from other third-party developers.

We appreciate your continued support of Twitter and regret any inconvenience to you.