Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter. Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter.
Tweetbot developer Tapbots has announced that it has pulled its very popular alpha Mac app from release due to the new caps on maximum users that Twitter recently said it would begin enforcing. The developers have tried to work with Twitter to come up with a way to have the alpha not eat up the limited amount of slots available to them, but says that Twitter has been uncooperative.
As it stands, the user accounts are capped at 100k users or, if already over 100k users, 200% of their current users. And those user slots, called tokens, do not expire. This means that if users try out the alpha, but decide that it isn’t for them and never use it again, those slots are gone to Tapbots forever. The only way they can ever get them back is if users visit their Twitter account and revoke access to the app, which will free up the token. An unlikely occurrence for most people, to be honest.
The app is still continuing development and will be released as a for-pay client, so there is no danger at the moment to it not arriving eventually. But the advance beta access must be pulled now in order to preserve those slots for the eventual release of the app.
Tapbots also offers some additional details about the way that the slots work, which clarifies Twitter’s initial post about them somewhat. Caps are per app, for instance, so you can have multiple caps if you offer multiple clients. That’s what is affecting the Mac alpha. The post also clarifies that these caps refer to Twitter clients only, not non-client applications that use Twitter.
The pulling of the Tweetbot Alpha exemplifies one of the first manifestations of the ways the new Twitter rules are crippling the third-party client ecosystem. Twitter wants to control the way that people read its service on its path to billions of users and it’s not afraid to step on developer’s toes to get there.
Tapbots makes clear that it will eventually release the app, but says that alpha access must be pulled for now, saying “we wish we could continue on but we didn’t make the rules, we just have to live within them.”
They also urge users to visit their accounts and revoke access to any third-party clients that they’re not using, as this will help those developers stay under their user caps.
Notably, Twitter’s own Mac app has not been updated in a very long time.
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