Twitter has cut Emojitracker's access to its Streaming API, causing its creator, Matthew Rothenberg, to announce that he will shut the service down in April.
(Editor's note: One day after this article was published, TheNextWeb published an article stating that Emojitracker was not having its Twitter API access revoked, according to a Twitter spokesperson. Matthew Rothenberg has since updated his original article to explain his agreement reached with Twitter.)
Emojitracker provides a real-time visualization of emoji symbol usage on Twitter and has tracked some 14 billion emoji tweets since its launch. Three years ago, Twitter granted Rothenberg's app with "partner" access to its Streaming API but earlier this week, Rothenberg received an email from Twitter Platform Operations informing him that this access was being revoked on April 21.
The email explained, "In order to more heavily invest in our APIs and data platform we will prioritize rolling out new platform features and are freeing up resources by cleaning up outdated, undocumented, and unsupported access. We hope this reallocation of resources will help bring great platform enhancements in the future."
The email suggested that Rothenberg use Twitter's Public Streaming API or purchase commercial access through Twitter-owned Gnip. However Rothenberg says that Gnip doesn't offer "the level of fine-grained Unicode control Emojitracker currently utilizes," is expensive, and would prevent him from offering his work to other developers to use under an open source license.
Additionally, he noted that the April 21 cut-off date was not reasonable. "Even if for some reason the above were not true—there still would remain the work of migrating a major component of Emojitracker’s infrastructure (which has been performance tuned to somewhat ludicrous degrees over years of development)—with ~30 days notice. To be frank, I’m not interested in investing that level of effort for a very uncertain future on Twitter’s platform," he wrote.
On Hacker News, a user identifying himself as the Developer Relations lead at Twitter posted a comment indicating that Twitter has reached out to Rothenberg in hopes that it can "resolve this situation" and suggested that Twitter might be able to provide continued access to Emojitracker.
While it's possible that Emojitracker will be saved, Twitter's handling of the situation and the attention received by Rothenberg's blog post probably won't help the social giant, which is trying to mend its relationship with developers after past decisions forced some from the company's ecosystem and left others feeling alienated.