It was not long ago when Twitter made a controversial move to monetize access to its API, raising eyebrows in the developer community. With an amended Developer Agreement barring the resurgence of third-party Twitter clients and the ending of free API access, Twitter had evidently embarked on a new journey. This overhaul has sparked discussions about the future of the platform, not least because of the potential loss of automated accounts and the serious impact on smaller developers who were heavily reliant on the previously free API.
The fiasco took another twist today as reports suggest Twitter has begun restricting content access to unregistered users. If you want to scroll through tweets, check out user profiles, or dive into the comment threads on the web, now it seems like you have to sign in to a Twitter account.
Users trying to access Twitter without being logged in have reported a sign-in window appearing immediately, blocking any access to previously public content, as pointed out by The Verge. The previous model allowed non-account holders limited access, including viewing public tweets and user profiles, but without interaction abilities such as likes or comments. Now, whether you're attempting to access the homepage or a direct link to a tweet or profile, you're instantly faced with a sign-in window that prevents viewing.
The unexpected shift in Twitter's accessibility might point to an ambitious goal of driving up registration and bolstering Twitter Blue subscriptions. Rather than a technical mishap, the decision may be a calculated move by the social media giant, even though it starkly differs from previous strategies under Elon Musk's leadership.
Back in 2022, Musk took an inclusive approach, enlisting the skills of George Hotz, a well-known iPhone hacker and the author of the Towelroot exploit for Android. Hotz's mission was to streamline the search function and eliminate the login prompt that inconvenienced guests. However, this mission came to a sudden halt with Hotz's abrupt resignation, which led to Twitter completely removing the search function for unregistered users this April.