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Twitter API Changes Tighten Stranglehold On Apps

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By Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - In a move to regulate how users access its microblogging service, Twitter announced new restrictions that sternly discouraged independent software developers from creating Twitter apps.

While the move is not expected to immediately affect how current Twitter users across the world access the service, the new rules will likely nudge new users toward Twitter's own apps while slowly ushering the demise of popular third-party clients like Tweetbot.

Twitter, which has been seeking greater control of its platform as it looks to grow into a digital media powerhouse sustained by advertising revenues, has deeply divided Silicon Valley's tech circles with its strategy.

No longer just a 140-character, text messaging service, Twitter believes it can provide more interactive content -- and better serve ads and measure their performance -- if the vast majority of its users use officially sanctioned programs to log into Twitter. But that approach has riled many software developers as well as users, many of whom favor independent clients like Hootsuite, Uber and Tweetbot over Twitter's own products.

Under its new rules, independent software developers who create new Twitter apps will only be allowed to have a maximum of 100,000 users. Existing apps with more than 100,000 users can double their user base before Twitter imposes a hard cap on user base.

The new guidelines, which were published on Twitter's blog on Thursday, attracted a torrent of criticism from "power-users" and software developers.

But they did not come as a surprise to many of the company's observers. Last month, Twitter signaled its intentions to clamp down on its platform when it ended a syndication deal to show tweets within LinkedIn'swebsite.

(Reporting by Gerry Shih; Editing by Ryan Woo)

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