After weeks of stalling, Twitter finally announced its new API price structures on Wednesday. These three tiers include a bare-bone free level mostly meant for content posting bots, a $100 per month basic level and a costly enterprise level. The company said that subscribing to any level gets access to Ads API at no cost.
Twitter mentioned that over the next 30 days, the company will discontinue old access levels, including Standard (for v1.1), Essential and Elevated (for v2), and Premium.
Twitter’s API saga started when the company announced in February that it is ending free API access in just a matter of days. After heavy criticism, Elon Musk said that the company will provide a free tier to bots providing “good content.” Later, it said that the basic tier would start at $100 per month without giving any details about the level of access. On February 13, the company said that it had delayed the launch by a “few more days.” More than 45 days later, the company finally provided info about the new APIs.
The new API offering seems like a money grab. The free tier provides only 1,500 post requests per month along with access to Login with Twitter. The basic tier — which is deemed “for hobbyists or students” — provides 50,000 post requests and 10,000 read requests per app per month. Developers who want to access more data will have to apply for enterprise access, which reportedly costs a whopping $42,000 a month.
Earlier, with the introduction of the v2 in 2020, Twitter offered multiple access levels to developers like Essential and Elevated that could give them access to 500,000 to 2 million tweets per month. Now app makers who fall in that category of usage will have to subscribe to the enterprise plan.
Some developers who tried to subscribe to the new basic tier found out that they have already hit the limit.
When Twitter decided to shutter its free API access last month, TechCrunch reported that a lot of researchers and academics were worried that the move will hamper student projects and the transparent outlook of the platform achieved through data.
Twitter’s new announcement mentions that it is “looking at new ways” to serve the academic community, but didn’t provide any information about potential solutions. The company went on to say that while they try to define the academic usage tier, researchers can subscribe to free, basic and enterprise tiers. The free and basic tiers might be useless for academics and the enterprise tier might be too pricy for projects with limited budgets.
Over the past few months, Twitter’s steps have ostracized the developer community. Last year, the company shut down several developer-related projects, including Twitter Toolbox for app discovery, and several others are in a dormant state. In January, the company shut out third-party clients without any clear communication. Later, it silently changed its developer terms to block alternative Twitter apps.