Various third-party Twitter apps have mysteriously stopped working.
Twitter has long been notable in its support for other apps that allow users to access its service. Apps such as Twitterrific and Tweetbot allow users to see posts, make new ones and more, through an app that is created by third-party developers.
But early on Friday morning, both of those apps found themselves unable to access the Twitter data needed to work. And each of them said they did not know the cause of the problem.
Users that tried to open the apps saw error messages informing them that they were unable to login. The developers of those apps said they were aware of the problems but had not received any information from Twitter about why it had happened.
The first-party Twitter app – which is known just by the name of the company – appeared to be functioning as normal. What’s more, some smaller apps continued to work.
Some speculated that the problem was the result of an intentional decision to cut off support for third-party clients. Others suggested that the issue could simply be a bug.
“Tweetbot and other clients are experiencing problems logging in to Twitter. We’ve reached out to Twitter for more details, but haven’t heard back,” Tweetbot wrote on its official Twitter account. “We’re hoping this is just a temporary glitch and will let you know more as soon as we know more.”
The developers of Twitterrific said similar.
“We’re aware that Twitterrific is having problems communicating with Twitter,” it wrote on its official account. “We don’t yet know what the root cause is, but we’re trying to find out. Please stay tuned and apologies.”
One user responded to that post, writing “I blame Elon”. “So do we,” Twitterrific replied, though it gave no indication of whether it thought the problem was intentional or not.
Paul Haddad, the developer of Tweetbot, said that he was hopeful that his app had been broken by accident – but that he hadn’t had any communication either way.
“I’m hoping that whatever is going on at Twitter is just some automated spam protection bot that is incorrectly suspending proper apps, or something similar,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately I don’t have many contacts at Twitter anymore so doubt I’ll get any kind of definitive answer soon.”
In the replies to Mr Haddad’s post, which was made on Mastodon, some noted that other apps were still working and so the problem could just be a bug with those affected. But others suggested the specific nature of the outage could have meant that popular third-party apps were precisely targeted to be shut down.
Twitter no longer maintains a communications team. Neither its official accounts or new chief executive Elon Musk – who has made a number of controversial changes to Twitter since he took over the service – had posted any updates about the problem.
In November, Elon Musk announced plans to remove information on tweets which showed what they had been posted on: whether it was the official client for iPhone, for instance, or a third-party app. He said at the time that “literally no one even knows why we did that”.
In response, Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag, noted that among other things it offered visibility to third-party clients – such as those that were experiencing problems. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s former chief executive, replied to that tweet, calling it “correct”.