Jetpack and WordPress.com announced they will no longer support the Twitter API in their products. Last month Twitter suspended WordPress.com’s access to its API, which broke Jetpack Social Sharing – the mechanism that auto-tweets published posts.
Although WordPress.com’s access to the API was reinstated for a few weeks, the company has now been priced out of offering features that rely on Twitter’s API:
Twitter recently notified Automattic that it was dramatically changing the terms and pricing of the Twitter API. The cost increase is prohibitive for us to absorb without passing a significant price increase along to you, and we don’t see that as an option. We have attempted to negotiate a path forward, but haven’t been able to reach an agreement in time for Twitter’s May 1 cutoff.
Given that, we have decided to discontinue using the Twitter API.
WordPress.com did not detail its estimated API usage, but Enterprise access starts at $42,000/month for 50 million tweets and scales upwards based on usage, with 100 million tweets priced at $125,000/month and 200 million priced at $210,000 per month. This astronomical price increase will swiftly cull many applications, institutions, and large scale publishers that don’t have an extra $500k/year – $2.5M/year in the budget for Twitter API access.
In October 2022, Jetpack started monetizing this feature with a paid plan that limited the free version to 30 social shares per month (to any social network), a controversial decision that sent many users in search of alternatives. Passing the cost to the customer here was already beyond what most users wanted to pay for these features and is not sustainable.
WordPress.com will be removing Twitter from Jetpack Social and refocusing its efforts on other social media sharing capabilities. The company is adding Instagram and Mastodon to its auto-sharing lineup soon. Auto-sharing for Tumblr, Facebook, and LinkedIn still works.
Starting, today, users who want to share their published posts on Twitter will need to share the link manually through the Twitter app. For clarification, sharing posts by clicking the Tweet button will continue working. This change only affects auto-sharing.
The massive increase in API pricing has competitors fired up to support users migrating away from Twitter. Automattic, which also owns Tumblr, took a stab at Twitter in the conclusion of the announcement: “If your recent experiences with Twitter have left you dissatisfied, go take Tumblr for a spin — we hear it’s quite a party over there.”
In February, Mastodon promised that the platform would never charge for API access. After Automattic’s announcement today, Mastodon tweeted they are excited to see the company expanding support for the platform in Jetpack.
Twitter may be shooting itself in the foot by making it more costly, in terms of time and automation, to have incoming content from the open web. It’s becoming more cumbersome for publishers to share their content. This has further aggravated Twitter’s user base who is used to coming to the platform for up-to-the-minute news. Too many smaller apps are now priced out of providing these kinds of updates. Some users have started encouraging their followers to follow them on other networks to be alerted when posts are published.
“This is an example of the minor annoyances that will ultimately make people look for alternatives to Twitter,” WordPress.com user @MoviesSilently said. “Frictionless sharing isn’t a make or break but it’s nice.”
Today’s news has added to users’ compounding disappointment with Twitter. Not only has it is become more costly to have an active voice but advertising has a stranglehold on the feed. As major brands have ceased advertising on the platform, the quality of ads has declined to where scrolling the app has become like wading through a flea market. Twitter users may soon be in for more changes to their feeds as any content originating from WordPress.com or Jetpack-powered sites will require a manual share to be found on the platform.