The company behind leading online publishing platform WordPress.com blamed Twitter on May 1 2023 for its decision to cut the tool allowing WordPress.com users from automatically publishing on right-wing tech mogul Elon Musk’s platform.
As Mashable reported, Automattic announced via a statement by subsidiary company Jetpack Social that sites using WordPress.com software would no longer be able to use its application publication interface (API) to instantly share their posts on Twitter:
Twitter decided, on short notice, to dramatically change the terms and pricing of the Twitter API. We have attempted to work with Twitter in good faith to negotiate new terms, but we have not been able to reach an agreement. As a result, the Twitter connection on Jetpack Social will cease to work, and your blog posts will no longer be auto-shared to Twitter.
According to WordPress.com, more than 20 million sites use its version of the open-source WordPress software, with 71 percent of the sites publishing content in English. While its shift away from Twitter’s API affects automatic posting to that platform, that does not stop users from manually sharing links on their Twitter accounts.
Twitter announced on March 30 2023 that it would raise the price for using its API; the price tier ranged from $100 a month to reportedly as much as $42,000 a month for “businesses and scaled commercial projects.” Less than a month later, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced it would no longer post traffic updates on Twitter. The agency, which oversees the city’s public transportation services, had reportedly been asked to pay $50,000 a month to use Twitter’s API services.
However, Twitter reversed course on charging public agencies in general on May 2 2023.
“Verified [government] or publicly owned services who tweet weather alerts, transport updates and emergency notifications may use the API, for these critical purposes, for free,” the platform said in a statement. The MTA responded by saying it was “assessing [their] options for service alerts moving forward.”
Auttomatic said in its statement that while WordPress.com is cutting Twitter out of its automated posting mechanism, the site will “in the near future” allow users to automatically share content on Instagram, the Meta-owned platform focused on photo and video content; and the decentralized platform Mastodon, which allows users to sign up through various independent servers. The latter platform announced on May 1 2023 that it would introduce a “default” setting for new users that would work across all its servers.
A spokesperson for Auttomatic told us that the company is working on integrating a separate plugin, ActivityPub, into user functions, allowing them to post to Mastodon and similar platforms.
“This will enable WordPress.com users to transform their site into a Mastodon-like profile and be a functioning member of any Fediverse network that uses the ActivityPub protocol,” they said in a statement.
We contacted Mastodon seeking further comment but did not hear back.
Update 5/2/2023, 3:51 p.m. PST: Updated to reflect Twitter allowing public agencies to use its application publication interface free of charge. — ag
Update 5/5/2023, 3:51 p.m. PST: Updated to reflect new comment from a spokesperson for Auttomatic. — ag