TweetDeck Apps and Social Commerce App Flattr Felled by Twitter’s API Rules

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Image via Flattr

In its ongoing efforts to police how its data is used by third-party apps, Twitter this week shut down mobile TweetDeck apps, Facebook integration with TweetDeck and use of the social commerce app Flattr on its platform.

TweetDeck is a Twitter client acquired by Twitter in 2011. As expected, Twitter today said it would shut down the client’s mobile apps.

“To continue to offer a great product that addresses your unique needs, we’re going to focus our development efforts on our modern, web-based versions of TweetDeck,” the company said.

Twitter also said it would turn off Facebook integration from all versions of TweetDeck, continuing escalating hostilities between the two social networks.

Earlier this week, Twitter shut down Flattr, an app that works with various social networks to enable users to pay content producers small amounts by liking or favoriting tweets. SocialTimes covered its launch last month.

According to both companies, Twitter cited a clause in its API agreements that states that “ads cannot have Tweet actions like follow, retweet, favorite, and reply,” and that developers “cannot sell or receive compensation for Tweet actions or the placement of Tweet actions on your Service.”

Flattr contends that its service isn’t advertising, so shouldn’t fall under this provision. The company also offered to forgo its 10-percent cut of the funds sent from the user to the content producer, it says.

“The idea of not letting people use their favorites in the way they want is in no way is mentioned in the API terms. We feel that Twitter is reading things into their terms that is not there,” Linus Olsson wrote on the company’s blog.

Twitter declined to explain its rationale. But analyst Brian Blau, with Gartner, thought Flattr’s interpretation was naive.

“Favoriting is a tweet action that Twitter wants to reserve for themselves. Yes, [Flattr] would help with [Twitter] engagement, but I guess Twitter can make the rules and this is one of them. There are lots of platforms that restrict copying core functionality, and these kinds of moves will catch developers in a bind if they happen to build in features that eventually become Twitter core — even if they did it first,” he said.

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