Twitter developers urge FTC to probe new restrictions on third-party apps


Developers are petitioning the Federal Trade Commission to investigate new Twitter guidelines limiting how third-party clients leverage the microblogging platform.

Last week, Twitter revealed the next version of its API will institute new user caps, display guidelines, on-device certification requirements and other restrictions designed to further the company's ongoing efforts to shift its third-party app ecosystem away from traditional microblogging clients and syndication services. Twitter wants partners to focus their energy on enterprise clients, social-enabled customer relations management tools, social influence ranking solutions and other apps targeting the business, engagement and analytics segments. Twitter has also blocked services like Instagram and Tumblr from accessing its Find Your Friends API.

The Next Web reports that multiple developers have contacted the FTC over Twitter's moves, requesting the agency explore potential antitrust violations. David Barnard, founder of App Cubby--which removed its Tweet Speaker from Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store hours after Twitter disclosed the changes--wrote "The announcement Twitter made regarding 3rd party apps on their ecosystem doesn't fit the typical definition of anti-trust, but will definitely lead to 'inferior service' and 'fewer choices for consumers.' I think it's worth looking into. It already forced me out of the market."

The Next Web adds that other developers who've petitioned the FTC to look into Twitter's actions declined to speak on the record, citing their ongoing involvement with the Twitter ecosystem.

In July 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported the FTC's antitrust arm had launched an investigation into Twitter, with investigators also requesting information from UberMedia, the startup behind Twitter client applications like UberSocial, Echofon and Twidroyd. The probe followed Twitter's initial moves to limit third-party developer access to its platform. UberMedia confirmed making contact with the FTC, and said in a statement "We intend to fully comply with their request for information." Both Twitter and the FTC declined comment on the probe, remaining mum on the subject more than a year later.

For more:
- read this Next Web article

Related articles:
Twitter tightens stranglehold on third-party apps, developers revolt
Twitter revokes Instagram's access to Find Your Friends API
Twitter update brings push notifications to iOS, Android apps
Twitter mobile ads now outpace desktop revenues
Twitter expands content interactions inside tweets
Twitter expands mobile ad targeting to BlackBerry devices