Is my service conforming to the twitter standards?


#1

I have built a web-based service (for the past 1 year) - http://welshare.com, but today I read these two articles: http://mashable.com/2012/01/17/twitter-proxlet/, http://mashable.com/2011/03/12/twitter-api-clients/ and I wondered if I should invest more time in popularizing my app, or I will get shut down as soon as I get more than 10 active users. I have read the terms of service, FAQ, guidelines, etc., but since I’m not a lawyer (and even if I were…), I’m not sure if welshare is an offender, a potential offender, or is fine. Here are the things I think might be problematic:

  • Since I’m providing a sort-of unified interface to multiple networks, the button that retweets a message is not called “retweet”. Because, in addition to retweeting, it sends the message to other networks as well. So it’s called “like” (a more generic term)
  • I offer the feature to filter out messages. For example I currently personally filter all links from 4sq, and hashtags that become viral, but I’m not interested in.
  • I offer an option to hide long conversations from a given user (it is quite annoying when two users chat on twitter and you are not at all interested in their conversation)
  • There’s an option to set a threshold to users - their messages get filtered unless they are retweeted at least X times. That way you get just the best of your spammy friends
  • You can import your tweets into welshare. That way you can use an efficient search on them.

For the first option, if it is absolutely mandatory, I can change the text to “retweet” (thus breaking the ‘unification’). The rest are just nice-to-have features which arose from my daily twitter usage.

Another questions that arose from my read of the terms - is it OK to display tweets, facebook and linkedIn posts in the same stream (as long as they have an indicator of their origin)?

I’d be glad if I get an answer, depending on which I’ll either continue developing the service, or I’ll just use it as my private tool.


#2

Definitive questions about API Policy are best sent to their team at api@twitter.com – sorry it’s taken a bit for me to respond here.

You start with a bit of a false premise, that the features Proxlet provides were the reasons for its suspension rather than the reason actually stated in the article ( http://mashable.com/2012/01/17/twitter-proxlet/ ).

I’ll turn the question around a bit though – when you read the developer TOS, Twitter’s TOS, its design guidelines and you measure that against the app you’re building, do you think it passes muster? At least the spirit of the guidelines?

As a general rule, Twitter prefers its objects to be identified and treated as unique entities. You don’t re-share or like a tweet, you retweet it. It’s best to follow all the “shoulds” in the display guidelines and TOS, but it is critical that you follow all “musts.”

Without looking deeply at your service, I don’t perceive any real issues with the features you provide – as long as you don’t surprise users or do users a disservice by editing their tweets, don’t provide an unsecured API or proxy, and make a good effort to display tweets as Twitter prefers (complete with all native actions a Tweet has: favoriting, retweeting, replying, and potentially following of the author).


#3

Thanks for the comments. I didn’t see the reason for suspension (the article says it’s unknown), that’s why I assumed it was the features.

I have read all ToS and guidelines, and I don’t feel there’s anything wrong (apart from missing the “retweet” button), but shutting down that app made me wonder. So, for now I’ll replace “like” with “retweet” for twitter-sourced messages, and leave everything else as it is.