Twitter API Suspension — Our side of the story

Before we move ahead, we’d like to take a moment and express our deep sense of gratitude towards our customers and the entire community for all their support and patience over the past couple of days. In standing firmly behind us as we seek answers from Twitter, you’ve been an amazing and solid source of strength and inspiration. Thank you!

On 31st Jan 2019, without receiving any prior intimation from Twitter, our API access was suddenly suspended. We received the following email from Twitter

This came to us as a complete shocker for 2 main reasons -

  • This email was not a heads-up, but an already implemented notice of suspension. No prior hearing or warning given, no clarification sought.
  • We have always stayed compliant to Twitter’s rules and have always made quick changes to support regular changes to their policies. Infact, Crowdfire’s Twitter features were approved twice in 2017 and and 2018 after review by Twitter staff.

The only communication we ever got from Twitter in 9 years of being on their platform was in September 2017, when Twitter had changed it’s platform policies. Twitter pointed out to problems with a couple of features which we needed to remove or modify to stay compliant. We completed all the changes (Removed Auto DM & Copy Followers features) and received an acknowledgement of the compliance. Here’s a timeline of the emails exchanged between Twitter & us around these changes.

Twitter to Crowdfire — Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 5:57 AM

Crowdfire to Twitter — Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 6:14 AM

Twitter to Crowdfire — Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 5:38 AM

Crowdfire to Twitter — Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 1:18 AM

Crowdfire to Twitter — Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 9:12 PM

Twitter to Crowdfire — Sat, Oct 7, 2017 at 3:25 AM

Twitter to Crowdfire — Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 3:46 AM

Crowdfire to Twitter — Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 4:07 AM

Crowdfire to Twitter — Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 8:14 AM

Crowdfire to Twitter — Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 1:45 AM

Twitter to Crowdfire — Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 4:51 AM

Crowdfire to Twitter — Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 10:22 PM

Twitter to Crowdfire — Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 5:16 AM

Twitter to Crowdfire — Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 5:20 AM

Following these changes, we updated all our marketing communication and notified all our users so there was no confusion around the subscription plans.

On 24th July 2018, Twitter announced new changes to it’s API limits and processes around its implementation. One of the key changes was the introduction of new rate limits for POST endpoints. Essentially, this is something that controls and limits actions that features on third party apps like Crowdfire can take. Twitter also introduced a way to request a review and and seek an increase of this rate limit. We followed the necessary steps, explained our use cases, got it reviewed by Twitter staff, and received an approval for elevated API limits. Here’s the process followed.

Posted by Crowdfire on Twitter’s developer forum — Jul 30, 2018 7:03 PM

Our usecase description as submitted in the elevated API limits application form -

Approval received from Twitter for Elevated API limits — Sept 13, 2018 12:16 AM

And now fast forward to today. Twitter has suspended our access to their API — Without notice, without warning. We have sent multiple replies to the notice received from Twitter, but are yet to hear back.

Reply 1 sent on 31 January 2019 at 00:10

Reply 2 sent on 31 January 2019 at 00:19

We’ve also sent out multiple tweets tagging relevant accounts, but are yet to receive replies.

Our users and the entire community has been super supportive in reaching out to Twitter themselves and requesting Twitter to restore Crowdfire’s services.

Crowdfire does not spam

One of the clarifications we’ve wanted to issue is that Crowdfire has never indulged in building features that promote spam. We’ve always discouraged against any spam like actions on our app and have proactively tried to work with Twitter in its fight against spam. We’re huge believers and advocates of Twitters anti-spam updates and truly believe that eradicating spam will ultimately benefit the entire eco system. What we are completely against is targeting apps and services that do not indulge in spam behaviour without understanding important usecases for their features. All our features have legit usecases that help small businesses grow and benefit. Else we wouldn’t have had millions of users adapting our platform. Neither would we have built these features.

Next steps and the way ahead

All through these recent happenings, there’s been one thing that’s gotten us worried about most — How will our users win on social media without us getting our Twitter services up and running again? While we wait for Twitter to restore our services, we’ve already sprung into action building more features that will usher in the next phase of growth for our users. We’ve already built the next version with Content Recommendation, Publish, Mention & Analytics features and applied to Twitter for elevated API access. As we get the approval going over the next 3–4 days, we’ll roll it out to all of you. (We won’t be bringing back the Manage features into this version until there is clarity around Twitter’s take on them.)

We’re also working on reaching out and educating You about more features so you can quickly adapt to them and continue growing your accounts.

Publishing relevant content to your social accounts and engaging with your community is going to be the next big thing in your growth strategy. We already have powerful tools that will help you execute this strategy and win on social media!

Lastly, Thank you for reading through this long post. In the interest of complete transparency, we thought it important to put out all the relevant details out there for you to know. Its your support and backing that keeps us going day in and day out. Together we can win! Let’s Go Big!