Hesitant to write new Twitter client


A developer with a small software company, I’ve had an idea for a Twitter feature that seems to have withstood the test of time - after a few years I still see the problem to be solved but I don’t see other solutions. I don’t mind paying Twitter for services, posting ads provided by Twitter, or anything else to help Twitter monetize or promote the brand in the best light possible. I’m just afraid of getting shutdown as soon as the app gets popular.

In short, I want to create a new client similar to TweetDeck but much more focused, allow user-defined filtering and aggregation of user-relevant content. The functionality will be accessible via a website, desktop, and popular mobile platforms. Transactions will get posted from the app to my servers and processed into Twitter API queries, with responses then filtered and passed back up to the client app. (If twitter prefers we can also tweet directly from client app to Twitter, with only metadata going back and forth from our servers. Per API guidelines, responses will be cached and API search calls will be minimized, though of course with people tweeting from the apps there will still be whatever number of transactions are require to support the user base.

The app is not intended to mask or re-brand Twitter but to profile it highly as the supporting platform. The whole idea is to allow people to make better use of Twitter in a responsible way that I’m sure Twitter would appreciate. I want to proudly build upon the platform, not in any way subvert it.

But there’s always that threat of getting shutdown for having too many transactions or if Twitter decides they want to do their own app that duplicates the functionality. From what I’ve read over the years, it’s not good to have a Twitter app that’s too popular - and Twitter isn’t fond of alternative client apps.

So what can I do to get prior confirmation that the model is sound - and that assuming we implement with full respect for policies, etc, that we won’t get shutdown? Who can we work with there to walk through the functionality and get approval before moving forward - and without the concept getting turned into the next big feature from the company? :wink:

Or is it “you just need to take your chances”? That’s what I’m feeling now and it’s neither developer-friendly nor good for business for anyone.



Hi there. I can’t think of an instance where Twitter has “shut down” an application which was fully compliant with its policies. Can you point me at an example of this happening so I can properly understand and contextualize your concerns?

With regards to client app development in general: a long time ago Twitter gave guidance to developers that they should not build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience; and for two years now applications which expect to access the home timeline, account settings or direct messages will need Twitter’s permission to exceed 100,000 user tokens. Definitely something to bear in mind.


Thanks for your considered response.

[quote=“isaach, post:2, topic:26272”]
I can’t think of an instance where Twitter has “shut down” an application which was fully compliant with its policies. Can you point me at an example of this happening so I can properly understand and contextualize your concerns?
[/quote] Well, we have Tweet Lanes, Tweetro, Falcon Pro, and MetroTwit. I understand the key phrase here is “compliant with its policies”. The sin of these apps is that they became popular enough to hit a level of non-compliance.

My goal is to create an app which provides additional functionality that is not available in the default clients. I actually don’t need any of the features you’ve mentioned - timeline, account settings, or direct messages. So yes, to see the timeline and interact with followers my users Must still use the default clients. However, the user will be allowed to tweet from the app and related website(s), and to see other tweets that interest them. All tweets will of course be immediately visible on their timeline.

With luck there should easily be 100,000 people using the app - even concurrently. And I can easily see people asking “why can’t I see my timeline?” to which I’d respond - you need this app for some things and Twitter™ apps for others. I just think it’s a shame that this is where it’s probably going to go.

Maybe I’m not understanding how we reach the token limit?


As far as I know, the apps you mention weren’t shut down by Twitter; they just reached the well publicized and documented 100,000 token limit on client apps. MetroTwit in particular was “preemptively sunset” by its developer.

If you’re not using the home timeline, direct messages, or account settings—then the 100k limit doesn’t apply to you (and indeed there are plenty of Twitter apps like this which have many millions of users).