Elon Musk has made many controversial decisions on Twitter since his acquisition. But perhaps none was more roundly criticized than the decision to cut off important public service and security accounts of Twitter’s API, unless they paid for the new exorbitant Enterprise prices.
On Tuesday, however, Twitter appears to have changed its mind.
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“One of the main use cases for the Twitter API has always been public utility,” according to the official Twitter account @TwitterDev tweeted(opens in a new tab). “Verified government or public services that tweet weather alerts, transportation updates, and emergency alerts can use the API for these critical purposes for free.”
The decision to make exceptions for important accounts that were recently shut down from the Twitter API is certainly a welcome one. from Twitter original hard line was that anyone who wanted to use the API – in addition to the small $100 “hobbyist” subscription – had to pay for an Enterprise plan, which starts at $42,000 per month.
Twitter keeps logging you out? You are not alone
Twitter’s new API plans have forced hundreds of indie developers to shut down their Twitter-based apps over the past month. And, as a direct result, severe weather warning accounts from the National Weather Service (NWS) and public transportation warning accounts such as the MTA’s NYC Subway accounts announced(opens in a new tab) they would no longer be able to provide their crucial, automated, up-to-the-minute alert services on Twitter.
Cutting off the NWS and MTA seemed to get more backlash from users than any of Twitter’s other recent unpopular moves. First, these types of accounts have always played an important role in the Twitter ecosystem since the early days of the platform, cementing Twitter as a place for breaking news.
However, many details are still unclear. For example, if Twitter says “verified,” does that mean the agency just needs to prove that the account belongs to them, or do they need an official verified account on Twitter? And a since-deleted tweet from the MTA-run NYC Subway account made it clear they haven’t even been notified of the switch on Twitter yet:
News that comes as a welcome surprise is becoming increasingly rare for Twitter, making this announcement a refreshing change of pace, even if it’s just the reversal of a seemingly ill-advised earlier announcement.