Twitter says startups can 'experiment' with its data for $5,000 a month

The company has already alienated many longtime developers.


Twitter’s API roller coaster under Elon Musk continues. The company announced a new “Pro” tier for developers today. At $5,000 per month, it falls between the $100-a-month Basic and custom-priced Enterprise plans.

The new Twitter API Pro plan offers monthly access to one million retrieved tweets and 300,000 posted tweets at the app level. It also includes rate-limited access to endpoints for real-time filtered streams (live access to tweets based on specified parameters) and a complete archive search of historical tweets. Finally, it adds three app IDs and Login with Twitter access.

However, the $5,000-a-month pricing for companies wanting to “experiment, build, and scale [their] business” leaves an enormous gap between it and the $100-a-month basic plan, the next tier down. The latter only offers a tiny fraction of the access in the Pro plan, leaving small businesses to choose between a level that may not provide enough for a $100 monthly fee versus a $5,000 plan that stretches beyond many startups’ budgets.

Some users also voiced their belief that its limits were too tight for that price. “That’s cool, but you already killed most Twitter apps by now,” Birdy developer Maxime Dupré responded to Twitter’s announcement. “And 5K is still too much for most of us. A 1K plan could make sense... but then again it’s too late.” The pricing also doesn’t likely do much for researchers, who the platform has been trying to charge tens of thousands of dollars for access.

Twitter’s recent API changes have created quite a bumpy ride for developers who still want access to the company’s data. First, the company effectively killed most third-party clients in January before quietly updating its terms to reflect the change. Then, it announced in February that it was ending free API access, only to delay the move after widespread blowback while promising that a new read-only version of the free tier would remain available for “testing” purposes. (The old version of the free API was cut off entirely in April, although Twitter reenabled it for emergency services in May.) The platform rolled out the new API’s initial three tiers (free, basic and enterprise) in March before adding today’s $5,000 pro tier. However, as the company has already alienated many of the developers that once relied on its platform, it remains to be seen how effective it will be at luring new customers — especially smaller operations — into the expensive new plan.