from the bye-twitter dept
Over the last few months we’d been wondering if it was worth pulling Techdirt posting from Twitter altogether, but had been too busy with other stuff to make a decision, and now it looks like Twitter has made the decision for us. Last week, Automattic informed us that Elon Musk was demanding a ridiculous amount of money to continue allowing its Jetpack service to use the API to enable WordPress sites to automatically post to Twitter. Automattic publicly announced this week that it would not pay, and that WordPress sites would no longer be able to automatically post to Twitter.
Twitter decided, on short notice, to dramatically change the terms and pricing of the Twitter API. We have attempted to work with Twitter in good faith to negotiate new terms, but we have not been able to reach an agreement. As a result, the Twitter connection on Jetpack Social will cease to work, and your blog posts will no longer be auto-shared to Twitter.
You will still be able to share your posts to Twitter manually by pasting the post link into the body of your tweet.
We were told that the automatic sharing of Techdirt articles as tweets would end over the weekend, though they’ve still been showing up. Honestly, we’ve got too many other things we’re working on to turn off the autosharing ourselves, so they’ll keep appearing as long as Elon allows it, but I assume that’s not much longer.
And… that’s fine. I’m sure we could probably find some hack to keep posting, but why bother?
We’re actually joining a large number of others who have left Twitter, including news organizations like NPR and PBS. Lots of others have left as well, either by choice or when pushed. NY’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, the MTA, announced recently that given Twitter’s increasing unreliability it will no longer use it for alerts.
Lots of other accounts have left as well, including many fun ones that used to make Twitter such a fun place to be. Inoreader, one of the world’s most popular RSS readers has now dropped Twitter feeds because of the new API fees. Same with Feedly. A bunch of official weather services have been exploring other options, after Twitter blocked many of their accounts from posting (though some were re-enabled after complaints).
Of course, just yesterday Twitter (again realizing that it hadn’t thought any of this through) announced that it was restoring API access for government weather and travel alerts. But, just the fact that this is all based on Elon making stupid decisions, learning they are stupid, and having to backtrack should be concerning for everyone.
So, we’re fine. Elon has every right to cut us off from posting our content to Twitter. But, really, our Twitter feed drove little to no traffic anyway, and it has limited value. It seems like a bizarre decision to cut off a service that powers 43% of the world’s websites, making it way more difficult for those services to put their content on Twitter, but Elon (I’m repeatedly told) is some sort of intergalactic business genius, and I’m just some guy who writes words on the internet.
We are looking into alternative services, but not alternative ways to post to Twitter. As I’ve made clear, I’m quite enthusiastic about a few different protocol-based systems out there, including ActivityPub (Mastodon), AT Protocol (Bluesky) and nostr. So we’ll be looking at ways to automate posting to all of those over time. Protocol systems not subject to the whims of some random dude seem like a much safer and more sustainable bet. This is also why Techdirt has been available for decades via RSS, and you can always follow us that way, or by just visiting the page once a day.