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According to Elon Musk, Twitter will offer free write-only APIs to bots that produce “good” content

Twitter said last week that it would no longer provide free access to its APIs beginning on February 9. Days before the deadline, Elon Musk said that Twitter will provide a write-only API for “bots creating useful content for free.”

In the same vein as past policy choices made by Musk’s administration, this one is also mysterious. Neither what defines “good material” nor who will make that determination are specified.

Twitter has already cut off API access to third-party clients, claiming that they violated a “long-standing guideline” without providing any details. The Twitter Applications may not be copied, imitated, or replaced by any other service or product, and the business later quietly modified its developer conditions to reflect this.

After the news broke, several programmers who joked about bots voiced their disagreement with the decision, arguing that the automation they created really benefited users by making formerly expensive material available at no cost. Buzzfeed spoke with many disgruntled bot creators last week about their disappointment with the decision. The @ restaurant bot tweets pictures of restaurants at random, while the @ weather bot_ tweets pictures of various locations along with weather reports.

Accounts like @BigTechAlert, which tweets about major tech executives and companies following and unfollowing each other, could need to scan account information and are thus unclear as to whether they will be eligible for this free tier at this time.

According to developer Darius Kazemi, who has created over 80 bots and even hosted a bot developers conference in 2016, these automated accounts have been a staple of Twitter for quite some time. He said that many people’s days were brightened by some of these bots with thousands of followers.

He warned that keeping these robots, which are giving the platform free material, running will be expensive.

If I wanted to have my more than 80 Twitter bots running 24/7/365, it would cost me several thousand dollars per year, and I just don’t have that type of disposable income.

Twitter’s content provider bots may be able to get by with basic free API access, but student developers and academic researchers may not be able to afford even that.