Twitter cuts off service to LinkedIn, API changes draw ire

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Twitter/LinkedIn
(CBS News) Twitter, the micro-blogging site, has cut off tweets on the professional social network LinkedIn, ending a two-year partnership.

Twitter is a website that lets users broadcast 140-character status updates, or tweets, in real time. The micro-blogging service has had a partnership with LinkedIn since 2009.

"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, said in a blog post.

LinkedIn users will still be able to post updates to Twitter from LinkedIn, but not the other way around.

Cutting off tweets to LinkedIn users is part of a greater initiative at Twitter to create stricter requirements for developers who use the company's application programming interface (API). An API is a set of tools that lets third-party developers write custom programs for a service.

The new requirements are meant to encourage developers to build apps on Twitter's website. The company said it would "more thoroughly enforce" its Developer Rules of the Road. Twitter wants to ensure its branding is consistent across the Internet, whether tweets are read on the site or a third-party client.

While the company is cracking down on inconsistency, developers are struggling with the narrowing constraints of integrating with Twitter.

In a March 2011 note to developers, Twitter platform team member, Ryan Sarver said, "developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no."

The challenges of building a program that doesn't mimic Twitter while ensuring consistency across all platforms has raised the ire of developers - some feeling jilted by the company. Their concern is that they have invested time and resources into developing apps for Twitter, only to have the company change the rules of the game.

"We're building tools for publishers and investing more and more in our own apps to ensure that you have a great experience everywhere you experience Twitter, no matter what device you're using," Twitter product manager Michael Sippy said in a blog post, where he emphasized upgrades, like Twitter Cards. The new addition to Twitter lets users add a few lines of code, or "card," to a tweet that will add an expanded view of content on Twitter.

Twitter faces its own challenges. Much of the company's content is viewed on third-party sites or programs. The micro-blogging service must find the right balance of running a profitable business and maintaining a robust developers' community.

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