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Twitter’s founder admits that shutting down the API was “Worst thing we did”: it affected users and developers

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Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and CEO until recently, has been highly active this week on the social network, but not about it, but about the future of the web, which many are dubbing web3. Many tools are already being developed for it, like the Opera browser, which integrates the Ethereum scaling platform, but Dorsey is skeptical of one of its major promises.

The former director has criticized the idea that web3 will be decentralized (as opposed to Web 2.0, which was centralized in the hands of large platforms and social networks), claiming that we do not own web3, but rather are venture investors in large groups who own the decentralized platforms that are emerging.

This has prompted a fierce dispute between the parties, with Jack advocating for truly decentralized positions and putting power in the hands of the people. One of the charges leveled at Twitter is that, as a Web 2.0 firm, it severely limited access to its API, on which much had been built and which had great potential for the future. With his response, Jack has not hidden anything:

Responding to a comment about the API being “killed”, Jack says it was “Worst thing we did”. It takes away a bit of personal iron by arguing that he “wasn’t running the company at the time”, and ends by adding that “the company has worked hard and will continue to open back up completely.”

A decision that destroyed the ability of many developers and users

In reality, Twitter has never been a decentralized platform (competitors Mastodon came out on top in that task), but under Jack’s mandate, there has been a lot of discussion about the subject, and even Dorsey has said that the social network should be reduced to nothing more than an open protocol client. This is how the former CEO expressed himself at the time:

“In the beginning, Twitter was so open that many saw the potential to become a decentralized Internet standard, such as the SMTP (email sending) protocol. For a whole host of reasons, all reasonable at the time, we took a different path and we increasingly centralize Twitter. But a lot has changed over the years”.

It came the closest to working that way with its first API, which gave client developers, users, and researchers who thoroughly used the platform a lot of leeways. Indeed, because of that API, there came to be gems like Tweetbot, which we still use today, or Tweetie, an application that was purchased by Twitter to take its base on iOS and macOS and transform it into an official application in the shape of Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Mac.

It deprived users of the opportunity to benefit from a superior product than that offered by the website and its official clients, as well as from functional parity. In recent years, for example, it has been impossible to vote in a poll using instruments other than those provided by the government.

Developers, particularly the tiniest, removed the potential of making a living from their programs, severely limiting their capabilities and, as a result, their attraction to users. Furthermore, it restricted the tokens used to log in so severely that developers had to pay Twitter to utilize its API, making the business model even more challenging.

All of that has recently begun to shift, but it was up to Jack to ensure that the restoration to some degree of decentralization occurred sooner, and it has been very slow again during his second term. Furthermore, there is no function equivalency between the API and what the corporation offers on its platform to this day.

Image Credit: Getty

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