Twitter's announced "promoted tweets", a way for businesses to send their status messages into the timelines of users who may not follow them. Many developers are wondering how it affects updates via the API--will promoted tweets show up in results from API calls?
A developer discussion has this response from Twitter's Raffi Krikorian:
the announcements are only slowly coming out -- there will be a lot more
details over the next few days through Chirp.
as we move forward, as always, we'll message out to the developer list as
features get deployed onto the platform / API.
In other words: promoted tweets aren't in API results... yet.
We may well expect Twitter to include the paid tweets eventually. This new offering is a revenue stream and Twitter counts on client applications to extend its reach. One hint of how it might be implemented can be sussed out of how retweets are handled in the home_timeline response.
Perhaps there won't be quite the same overhead of metadata with promoted tweets, but the concept is similar to retweets: here's a message from someone you don't follow. Twitter intends to make promoted tweets visually distinct from the rest of your timeline. Expect the same within the API when promoted tweets are entirely rolled out to the platform.
Update: Twitter COO Dick Costolo announced at Chirp that promoted tweets will be available via the API and revenue shared with developers. However, developers are free to remove promoted tweets from their applications.