Twitter blocks API access for popular bots like Hourly Animals and @MakeItAQuote

Another day, another Twitter apocalypse. This time, Elon Musk’s company is removing some of the most popular automated accounts from its platform.

Over the past few weeks, a large group of Twitter’s most popular bots have been gradually banned from API access. The bans were uncovered when Twitter accounts that normally automatically post images or memes were suddenly posted to the site, which had to be shut down.

In the last 24 hours alone, Twitter has blocked API access for numerous bot accounts that post photos of animals. Far from being a nuisance, accounts of this nature tend to attract a large following. For example, @PossumEveryHour(opens in a new tab)which posts photos of possums to its more than 500,000 followers, announced it would be shutting down Friday night after losing API access. @hourlywolvesbot(opens in a new tab)which tweets wolf pictures for its more than 173,000 followers, also announced that it would stop posting on Twitter for the same reason.

Other bot accounts posting animal images that have announced that they can no longer post to Twitter include: @CorgiEveryHour(opens in a new tab), @HourlyCheetahs(opens in a new tab)And @HourlyLynxes(opens in a new tab).

“This app has violated Twitter’s rules and policies,” reads the message to the suspended bot accounts on the Twitter developer portal. “As a result, access is no longer possible.”

According to the creators of the bot accounts, Twitter seems to block API access for bots that either don’t pay for an API subscription or choose not to join Twitter Bluethe paid premium service of the platform.

It’s unclear why Twitter is now banning these bots. @PossumEveryHour announced back in February that the account would be shut down after Elon Musk said API access required a paid subscription. However, in response to complaints from Twitter users, Musk said he would make exceptions “good” bots which provided free content to users. So @PossumEveryHour and most other “good” bot accounts kept running.


The solution to Twitter’s demise isn’t five Twitter clones

Some users found one Solution(opens in a new tab) for the bot accounts. For some bots, the only problem seems to be that Twitter is now transitioning to shutting down their old free API tiers. This means some bots could continue to run, albeit with less regularity, via Twitter’s new, extremely limited free tier set up for these “good” bots. You would have to manually set up the account again on the new Twitter API.

This is not the case with every bot account, however, as some have found that they still need to be closed unless they pay for API access. And since most of these accounts don’t make money to their creators, few are willing to do so.

And it wasn’t just the bot accounts posting animals that were affected. For example the popular one @MakeItAQuote(opens in a new tab) The account, which has more than 623,000 followers, was one of the first to be deleted in this purge when its API access was banned last week. The account would automatically create a quote image of a user’s tweet if someone mentioned it in the reply to the post.

Like bot accounts @SbFramesInOrder(opens in a new tab) (more than 182,000 followers) and @breaking_frames(opens in a new tab) (more than 245,000 followers), each posting stills SpongeBob SquarePants And breaking Bad Episodes also announced that they lost their API access.

@SbFramesInOrder shared that it would switch to a Twitter alternative Blue sky. Meanwhile, @breaking_frames has decided to pay for Twitter API access until the account reaches its goal of releasing every frame from every episode of the show.

Other bot accounts that have just been banned include: @ShitpostBot5000(opens in a new tab)which has almost 300,000 followers, and @SongFinderBot(opens in a new tab)which has 118,000 followers.

The timing of the purge could potentially coincide with Twitter’s recent suspension of the @ExplainThisBob automated account last week. This account was personal called out(opens in a new tab) by Musk himself after it was revealed the bot was being used to promote a cryptocurrency token. Then musk explained(opens in a new tab) that automated accounts used for marketing purposes, mainly replying to other users’ tweets, will be banned from the platform.

@ExplainThisBob was permanently banned from Twitter a short time later.

Musk previously tweeted Support(opens in a new tab) for the account in April, which had 400,000 followers before it was banned. @ExplainThisBob provided an AI-generated explanation of a tweet when a user tagged the account in replies. It seems that Musk was apparently unaware that the purpose of the account was to promote a memecoin.

The Twitter API allows the creators of these accounts to automate their posts, allowing the bot to periodically post itself or even interact with other users’ tweets. Twitter’s API used to be free because developers using it often just generate more traffic and user interaction on the Twitter platform itself.

But shortly after Elon Musk took over Twitter announced It abandoned its free API model and switched to a paid one. Paid tiers start at $100 per month and offer very limited access. Many third-party developers have reported that the limitations of this tier make it nearly unusable for most applications. For months the price for the next higher level was included $42,000 per monthThis resulted in many Twitter-based apps having to shut down because they couldn’t afford the new costs.

Twitter has since rolls a new, cheaper tier at $5,000 per month, which is still quite expensive, especially if you’re a developer looking to create a free bot solely for the pleasure of Twitter users.

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