As UberMedia learned very publicly today, software developers must carefully abide by terms-of-service (TOS) agreements when using APIs. As you may already know, Twitter has a powerful API that enables developers to create programs that access information from Twitter. This open API has been used by companies such as HootSuite and UberMedia to create powerful Twitter clients.
However, in a shocking move today, Twitter removed UberMedia’s rights to use their API because UberMedia was not abiding by Twitter’s terms of service. Rumor has it that Twitter had three primary complaints:
- UberMedia’s Twitter client, UberTwitter, was infringing on Twitter’s trademark.
- UberMedia was enabling users to tweet more than 140 characters.
- UberMedia was accused of monetizing tweets by adding affiliate codes to user’s tweets.
UberMedia had already been preparing to change the name of their Twitter client and had a contest over the last few weeks to come up with a new name. They announced the new client would be called UberSocial which is a step in the right direction as it supports more than just Twitter.
This is an example of why reading the fine print in the TOS is important. Developers are able to utilize APIs from leading services to create innovative applications; however, an API can be turned off like a light switch if the rules are being broken (or bent).
Below are some samples of the news as reactions as the story developed.
(image credit: Channy Yun)