Update: Due to new information, the original headline of this story has been changed. Please see the postscript at the end of the original article.
If This Then That (IFTTT) is notifying users today that it will stop supporting Twitter-based “triggers” as of next Thursday, September 27th. But the service will still allow users to create actions that use Twitter as the “action” — the end result of a trigger.
In a letter to users, IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets says Twitter’s new developer guidelines mean that IFTTT users can no longer use the service to send tweets to Dropbox, Evernote, email and other services. But not all Twitter-based activity will be disabled; Linden says that “recipes using Twitter Actions and your ability to post new tweets via IFTTT will continue to work just fine.”
The letter (full text below) refers to section 4A of Twitter’s API terms, which read, in part:
Exporting Twitter Content to a datastore as a service or other cloud based service, however, is not permitted.
What Will Be Allowed & What Won’t
Any IFTTT recipe that uses Twitter as a “trigger” will be removed. So, no more sending favorited tweets to Pocket or Evernote, or saving all tweets on Dropbox or Google Calendar.
But recipes that use Twitter as the “action” — the recipient of the trigger — are fine. So you’ll still be able to do things like Send Google Reader items tagged ‘tweet’ to Twitter and the more basic RSS to Twitter.
Twitter’s Developer Crackdown
Twitter has been using its new API to limit third-party access to tweets and Twitter’s user graph. We’ve documented that in some detail here already — things like disallowing sending of tweets to LinkedIn and pulling Twitter from the friend-finder function on services like Instagram and Tumblr. And earlier this week, Twitter updated its mobile apps with no support for third-party image hosts.
What we don’t know is if Twitter actively asked/told IFTTT that its Twitter triggers are in violation of the new API rules, or if IFTTT is making the move voluntarily. We’ve reached out to both companies to learn more and will update this post as needed.
Twitter, of course, has every right to make its own API rules. And third parties that want to play in Twitter’s sandbox have no choice but to go along. But ultimately, it’s regular users that are the big losers as this fight marches on.
Here’s the full text of IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets’ email to users:
In recent weeks, Twitter announced policy changes* that will affect how applications and users like yourself can interact with Twitter’s data. As a result of these changes, on September 27th we will be removing all Twitter Triggers, disabling your ability to push tweets to places like email, Evernote and Facebook. All Personal and Shared Recipes using a Twitter Trigger will also be removed. Recipes using Twitter Actions and your ability to post new tweets via IFTTT will continue to work just fine.
At IFTTT, first and foremost, we want to empower anyone to create connections between literally anything. We’ve still got a long way to go, and to get there we need to make sure that the types of connections that IFTTT enables are aligned with how the original creators want their tools and services to be used.
We at IFTTT are big Twitter fans and, like yourself, we’ve gotten a lot of value out of the Recipes that use Twitter Triggers. We’re sad to see them go, but remain excited to build features that work within Twitter’s new policy. Thank you for your support and for understanding these upcoming changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at email@example.com.
Linden Tibbets IFTTT CEO
*These Twitter policy changes specifically disallow uploading Twitter Content to a “cloud based service” (Section 4A https://dev.twitter.com/terms/api-terms) and include stricter enforcement of the Developer Display Requirements (https://dev.twitter.com/terms/display-requirements).
Postscript: As TechCrunch has discovered, the guideline about not exporting tweets to cloud-based services has been part of Twitter’s rules for some time now and is not new to Twitter API 1.1. That makes IFTTT’s reference above to “Twitter policy changes” both inaccurate and dubious. It also means that IFTTT was either unaware of the API rule, or was willfully ignoring it all along.
As a result, I’ve amended our headline for this story from “IFTTT To Drop Twitter Triggers Due To New Developer Guidelines” to “IFTTT To Drop Twitter Triggers, Will Keep Twitter Actions.”