Twitter’s recent announcement that it intends to charge for access to its APIs has been met with widespread outcry from developers and do-gooders alike. The move to impose a fee of at least $100 a month means that those who rely on the platform’s unique open ecosystem to help with disaster relief must pay the cost, a prohibitive fee that many volunteers and nonprofits will need help to meet.
In the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria, thousands of software developers have worked tirelessly to use the API to connect people in need with relief organizations. This has included using the platform to identify and respond to calls for help from those trapped in collapsed buildings. The API has also facilitated more logistical support, as people use Twitter to broadcast their needs.
Sedat Kapanoglu, the founder of Eksi Sozluk, Turkiye’s most popular social platform, has offered his expertise to the volunteer developers. He argues that the API’s loss of free access could significantly impact their efforts beyond just rescue efforts.
The implications of Twitter’s decision are still unclear, and many are now questioning the morality of charging for a tool that facilitates and encourages acts of altruism. In the current climate, this could have a detrimental effect on the number of social initiatives that rely on Twitter’s open ecosystem, raising fears that those most in need may suffer the consequences.