In a move that could people’s safety in jeopardy, Twitter is refusing to give National Weather Service (NWS) accounts an API exemption.
Twitter announced in February that it was killing off its free API and charging developers for access. In its place, Twitter is trying to drive developers to a new subscription plan that would start at $42,000 per month.
Despite the change, Elon Musk said that a write-only API would be available for bot accounts that provide good content.
Some had hoped the company would continue to allow public service accounts, especially those related to public safety, to receive an exemption to the subscription model.
As Mashable reports, however, that is not the case, with NWS accounts shut down after not switching to the paid API. Early reports, based largely on a tweet by the “T(w)itter Daily News” account, had said the company was exempting such public safety accounts. When contacted by Mashable, however, NWS officials said Twitter told them there would be no exception.
“Twitter informed NWS there are no plans for exemptions,” National Weather Service Director of Public Affairs Susan Buchanan told Mashable in a statement.
While some NWS accounts have been reinstated, the service says those accounts were not in violation of the new API rules.
“While some of these accounts were reinstated over the weekend, some remained suspended this morning,” the NWS told the outlet. “None of those accounts had exceeded Twitter’s new API limit.”
In view of this development, the NWS is advising users not to rely on its Twitter account for weather warnings.
“We advise people to have multiple ways to receive weather forecasts including weather.gov,” the NWS said.
It’s truly disappointing, and an all-new low, for Twitter to hinder public service accounts that some people depend on for their safety. Musk continues to take what was once a useful platform and destroy everything that made it worth anything.