Twitter makes API access free again for weather and transit alerts

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Twitter is making access to the API free again for certain government departments. This happens when they use the social network for updates on the weather, transport or emergency reports. The API access was first closed off for most users, but Twitter received a lot of criticism for that.

Twitter writes in a short message that it allows certain notifications that are loaded via the API again. The network specifically mentions weather alerts, updates on “transport,” and emergency alerts. This is only allowed for services from verified government institutions and ‘publicly available services’. Twitter verifies government agencies with a gold or gray check mark, but since the company introduced the Twitter Blue subscription, several government agencies worldwide have gone unverified.

Twitter allows the services to use the API again ‘for these important purposes’. The company does not write what restrictions and permissions are involved. It is also not clear what exactly Twitter means by weather warnings and transport updates.

Twitter has been restricting access to its API since the beginning of this year. The company later introduced different pricing tiers for that API, but the free version has since become so limited that many companies have stopped using it. The cheapest API has also become too expensive for many automated services. As a result, many services, such as the New York subway service, tweeting out timetable changes. Many warning systems for tornadoes or tsunamis, for example, no longer worked, which drew much criticism from Twitter.

One of the most important use cases for the Twitter API has always been public utility. Verified gov or publicly owned services who tweet weather alerts, transport updates and emergency notifications may use the API, for these critical purposes, for free.

— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) May 2, 2023

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