TechCrunch: Twitter Developer Labs opens to all with release of first APIs. “In May, Twitter announced plans to launch its Twitter Developer Labs program, a way for app developers to sign up to experiment with pre-released beta APIs. The idea, the company explained at the time, is to allow developers to test new API products early and offer feedback. Today, Twitter says it’s introducing its first Twitter Developer Labs endpoints: GET/users and GET/tweets. These allow developers access to look up tweets and users by ID.” I appreciate TechCrunch also mentioning all the ways Twitter has been horrible to the developer community.
University of Iowa: Measurement and Early Detection of Third-Party Application Abuse on Twitter. This is a PDF. “Third-party applications present a convenient way for attackers to orchestrate a large number of fake and compromised accounts on popular online social networks. Despite recent high-profile reports of third-party application abuse on Twitter, Facebook, and Google, prior work lacks automated approaches for accurate and early detection of abusive applications. In this paper, we perform a longitudinal study of abusive third-party applications on Twitter that perform a variety of malicious and spam activities in violation of Twitter’s terms of service. Our measurements over a period of 16 months demonstrate an ongoing arms race between attackers continuously registering and abusing new applications and Twitter trying to detect them. We find that hundreds of thousands of abusive applications remain undetected by Twitter for several months while posting tens of millions of tweets. To this end, we propose a machine learning approach for accurate and early detection of abusive Twitter applications by analyzing their first few tweets.”
CNET: Looks like Tweetbot, Twitterrific and other Twitter apps are going to be crippled. “The reported change means the Tweetbot app is expected to lose several useful features, including instant timeline streaming on Wi-Fi, and push notifications for likes, retweets, follows and quotes. The changes are also expected to affect its Apple Watch app. After the API changes take effect, timelines will refresh every one to two minutes and push notifications will experience a similar delay, according to 9to5Mac. Neither Tapbots nor Twitter immediately responded to a request for comment.” The continuing saga of Twitter being awful to third-party developers.
Mashable: Facebook cuts off access to user data for ‘hundreds of thousands’ of apps. “Facebook has just blocked a truckload of apps from accessing its user’s data. Facebook’s VP of Product Partnerships, Ime Archibong, explained in a blog post Tuesday that Facebook had cut off API access for ‘hundreds of thousands of inactive apps that have not submitted for our app review process.’ That’s a lot of random, dormant apps that had access.”
BetaNews: Twitter removes 143,000 apps, now requires developers to request API access. “As part of its continuing efforts to clean up the platform, Twitter has removed 143,000 apps in the last three months for policy violations. To help reduce the need for such measures in the future, the company has also introduced a new registration system that means developers must now request access to Twitter’s APIs.”
The Quint: Google in Snooze Mode as Third Parties Caught Pilfering User Data. “According to a Wall Street Journal Report, some third-party app developers had gained access to users’ data on Gmail and were able to read whatever data was available online! Google recently came out with a rebuttal saying that it was only vetting third-party apps and not reading the data. Many might believe what Google is saying, but the rabbit hole goes deeper. Here’s a closer look at this whole mess that Google has got itself in.” I have mentioned this issue before, but this article is an excellent overview/explainer. Beware of LOUD AUTOPLAY VIDEO. Sheesh.
TechCrunch: Facebook rolls out more API restrictions and shutdowns. “Following the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal and the more recent discovery of a Facebook app that had been leaking data on 120 million users, Facebook is today announcing a number of API changes aimed at better protecting user information. The changes will impact multiple developer-facing APIs, including those used to create social experiences on the site, as well as those for media partners, and more.”