Clarification about share counts for the new Tweet button


Since the new Tweet & Follow button topic was closed I didn’t have the chance to clarify:

When the new Tweet buttons go into effect, does that mean third party buttons/plugins will no longer be able to fetch the tweet counts for a url?

If that is the case, this would be a serious bummer for a LOT of social sharing plugins.


The Tweet button previously used an unpublished JSON endpoint to retrieve the share count for the count URL. The URL changed over time but remained updated in the latest widgets JavaScript code powering the Tweet button.

We’re removing share counts from the new Tweet button. The related JSON response will be shut down.

Share counts may still be available through other methods, including Gnip’s full archive counts, share counts tracked by each site based on interactions with a share button, etc. If a third-party button was using an unpublished, unofficial endpoint created for the Tweet button that endpoint will no longer return a response.


Are you at liberty to say WHY this choice was made? This is going to upset (and already has) a lot of people. Definitely not going to be positive on the PR side.

Is there anything that would change this decision?


Shutting down counter for Tweet button will make a dramatic negative social proof to all sites that base their social strategy on Twitter. Imagine how a page with 11 000 Tweets will look in social once you shut down the counter and displaying simply zero. As DustingWScout write this will made many people unhappy and move to other social networks.

You should consider creating end point for developers that will allow to get share counter for particular address and display it (even if this should be made with authorization - may be adding a new end point to REST API) - current version of REST API does not allow to get this because of many reasons:

  • url search does not work properly (if it works) - you can search for
    part of address only and if no short url is been used
  • REST API has limitation of filtered data to 100 records per call and
    does not have option to return only brief data. If we suppose that
    url filter starts working properly how may calls will be needed to
    find number of shares for page that has 11 000 tweets (server will
    fall down)
  • REST API has also limitation for access per 15 minutes - for a
    regular blog with normal presence in Twitter will take days based on
    limitations to update Twitter counter for particular address for each
    published posts.


The Tweet button will not display a count of zero. The count component of the Tweet button will be removed in the new design.

The JSON response currently used by the Tweet button to display counts will no longer function. If a script attempts to access the current or historical unofficial, unpublished endpoints for the Tweet button’s count functionality the displayed count after a 404 HTTP response will depend on how the script handles failed requests and timeouts.


This development is quite disappointing for brands and publishers, and will catch many by surprise. If Twitter didn’t notice, Gnip is not an affordable service for most companies. Personally speaking, this is a backwards move for Twitter and will undermine its relevance.

  1. Can Twitter please share the date when this update will go live?
  2. I echo Appscreo’s request: can Twitter please provide an end point for developers?


For users that relay on social proof to engage visitors there is no difference if counter will display zero or nothing - this will kill the social proof of visitors. Social Viral influence is based mostly on the counter value and after that of the content - the most popular content over one network has 60% more chance to be shared.

GNIP can be option only for large companies that have resources to pay for this but for other 99% of sites this is not a solution.

We all hope that you will find it useful to make official endpoint in API that will allow getting shared counter value for particular address.


@pj_costello Update already start affecting users - our first reports of that problem are from 28th of September. May be after a few more hours it will affect users globally.


This will make waves.

So many tools + plugins rely on this count.

To save causing a complete nightmare for a huge number of developers, why can’t you guys leave an easier way for counts to be tracked?

Remove counts from regular tweet buttons by all means, but don’t close it off completely because a very large number of people and brands do want to display share counts.

Sure, it could be left to specific tools/plugins to count interactions with their tweet button but a lot of shares don’t originate from the tweet button.


Completely agree with @adamjayc. I can only say that not “lot of shares” but may be the biggest part of shares don’t originate from the tweet button (custom share buttons, sharable quotes, image sharing, automated social media publish applications and other tools).

Unfortunately Twitter does not give any signals that end point will be created and added for use - the only answer we all get is a variation of official statement that they made. Can someone provides a little more details what is the reason for this decision to drop counter from button.


FYI everyone, big conversation about this happening on this blog post. More than 15 social media heavyweights weighed in for the article and even more conversation happening throughout social. Michael Stelzner (of even did a blab on it this morning (starting around 23min in) and they couldn’t get over how BAD this move is.

An interesting speculation is about how this could cost Twitter advertising revenue because of publishers who may be using their ad $$$ to promote articles in order to get the tweet count “social proof” up on important pages/articles wont have that incentive anymore. One person commented saying this seems like twitter “throwing away dollars to make pennies.”


I had talked with a Twitter rep on the phone (and via email) and I’ve recorded their response in this article. It’s not a good answer.


We have been using the SharedCount data as an essential data point to evaluate the impact of any particular piece of content in the Twittersphere. Needless to say, we are very disappointed by the bold move Twitter is making, which shows total lack of respect for the community that helped the company become so popular through the tools and services built on top of their platform.

We hope Twitter will revise and retract this decision. But this could mean a lot for them, in the range of loss of total credibility among the developer ecosystem, to major PR backslash and simply, loss of their rank as one of the top social media platforms.


Can only agree. If such social performance data is missing, how should I argue to say it is worth while spending time on Twitter to clients?


I’d love to see more transparency about this. A specific date for the change would be good to know, as well as an explanation of why this decision was made.

I also want to add that I wouldn’t have an issue with paying for access to this data, as long as we get good data and the price is reasonable. I was in contact with the GNIP team about it and it seems that they can’t offer full share counts and the limited data they can offer comes at a price that makes no sense for our kind of use case.

Make it easier for developers to give you money, please. :slight_smile:


The suggestions they have for using the twitter/search and streaming api’s aren’t sufficient. twitter/search doesn’t recall many tweets and streaming api’s are locked down to some extent. Has anyone found a reasonable alternative?


Strongly agree, this is an insanely bad move. Gonna kill businesses…


@Anderson760 Unfortunately as @ThriveThemes write above there will be no alternative way to collect shared data. Even GNIP cannot offer it and price for access to partial data is very high for regular users and start up companies.

During our tests we made with Twitter REST API and Streaming API we did not find a way to collect number of Tweets where particular address is present (like it is displayed now). Many Tweets and almost every Retweet did not appear in search. You cannot imagine what is the amount of downloaded data to take a simple counter statistical value - you need to get all tweets from search API with entire data and as we write above and this is done with max of 100 records per call.

If someone made to find a way to gather that data from Twitter API please share it with the community :slight_smile:


We’ve recently updated the developer blog with some more information on the infrastructure changes that led to the choices here.


“The count was built in a time where the only button on the web was from Twitter. Today, it’s most commonly placed among a number of other share buttons, few of which have counts” (from

Few of which have counts??? Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and G+ all provide share counts. These are the primary networks displayed across digital content, whether a small blog post, a product page, or articles by top publishers.

Twitter is simply out of touch with things with this perspective.