Twitter will have a free API tier for ‘good’ bots

To no one’s surprise, Elon Musk made an about-face regarding a controversial change to Twitter.

It looks like last week’s decision to kill off free access to Twitter’s API won’t exactly go through as planned. In response to an avalanche of criticism, Musk announced on Saturday (via tweet, of course) that a “light, write-only” version of the API would be available for bots that create “good content.”


Twitter is getting rid of its free API tier. That’s a nightmare for accessibility activists.

In case you missed the discourse around this, Twitter for years has provided a free version of its site tools to anyone who wanted it. The idea was theoretically to curb the site’s bot problem, but a counter-argument is that all it would do is kill beloved bot accounts like @PossumEveryHour(Opens in a new window), which just posts pictures of possums every hour. These kinds of friendly, innocuous bot accounts are a big part of why Twitter remains fun to use, despite, well, everything about it.

Now, at least, it seems like there might be an avenue for those accounts to remain in service, though Musk was predictably light on specifics. How restrictive is a “write-only” version of the API? What constitutes “good content,” according to Musk? Is it just animal content, or does accessibility activism count, too? These are things we don’t know yet, and given how fluid everything about Twitter is these days, the rules could change again soon with no warning.

Still, at least for the time being, it seems like that possum account might be able to live on in some form.

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