Twitter API changes may limit your tweets

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Updated 2:30 p.m. ET.

(CBS News) If you use Tweetbot or Twitterrific, changes are coming that may affect how you tweet.

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Twitter, the real-time micro-blogging service, announced Thursday changes to its application programming interface (API) that will limit how often a third-party client can access Twitter.

The company wrote in a blog post that most third-party services will be limited to 60 calls per hour - essentially, the number of tweets a user can sent to Twitter using an app like Tweetbot or Twitterrific. The number is bumped up to 720 per hour for tweet display, profile views, user lookup and user search.

An API is a set of tools that lets third-party developers write custom programs for a service. The limits set on Twitter's API means that once the limit is hit on third-party software like Echofon or a curation service like Storify, communication between the app and Twitter are cut off until the limit is reset - in this case, each hour.

Additionally, third-party client will be limited to 100,000 users - anything above than number will require permission to expand from Twitter. The more popular apps that have over 100,000 users will be able to expand up to 200 percent of its current user-base.

Twitter did not immediately respond to CBS News' inquiry on how the changes would affect Twitter-owned clients, like TweetDeck.

Twitter says the limits are well above what the average user needs. However, developers feel like they've been hit by a ton of bricks.

Instapaper founder Marco Arment blasted the Twitter changes in a blog post, saying that "Instapaper's 'Liked By Friends' feature reads timelines and will need more than 100,000 tokens. And that's a relatively minor feature in a small web service run by one guy."

Developers feel jilted because they have invested time and resources into developing apps for Twitter, only to have the company change the rules of the game. On the other hand, Twitter is a business that needs to make a profit. While it's a logical move, the company isn't scoring any popularity points.

Twitter has gradually made changes to its API over the last year and raised eyebrows when it cut off service to LinkedIn and Instagram.

"If you had previously synced your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and selected the option to share Tweets on LinkedIn, those Tweets generated from Twitter will no longer appear on LinkedIn. There will be no other changes to your LinkedIn experience," Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn head of content, wrote in a blog post in July.

LinkedIn users are still able to post updates to Twitter from LinkedIn, but not the other way around. Weeks later, it was learned that Instagram users would no longer be able to find friends on Twitter via the Twitter API.

Twitter is going full steam ahead with its API changes. So where does that leave developers who build products around Twitter?

"If I were in the Twitter-client business, I'd start working on another product," Arment said. 

Update: This story was updated to correct that Hootsuite will not be affected by the changes in Twitter's API. "Those API rules apply to consumer clients that compete directly with Twitter. HS is not a consumer client, so they don't apply," @Hootsuite_Help tweeted in response to CBSNews' request for comment. The same may apply for Seesmic and was also removed from from affected services. 


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