From 9 February, Twitter will be doing away with free bot accounts. The announcement states that they will no longer support free access to the Twitter API – which means our beloved bots will have to pay for a basic tier. Although there is no official confirmation of the pricing, Elon Musk suggested in a tweet that $100 a month along with ID verification will help “clean things up” and get rid of bots that abuse the API.
Yeah, free API is being abused badly right now by bot scammers & opinion manipulators. There’s no verification process or cost, so easy to spin up 100k bots to do bad things.
Just ~$100/month for API access with ID verification will clean things up greatly.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 2, 2023
While most will be happy to do away with the relentless spam bots that plague the app, there’s also a side to bot Twitter that made the app a funnier place to scroll through mindlessly. These bots have become an irreplaceable part of the Twitter subculture. They’re entertaining in their simplicity and ability to churn out regular content that serves a hyperspecific purpose for their followers.
@MakeItAQuote is one such bot that has created hilarious content over its successful run on the app. All you need to do is tag the account under a tweet, and the bot will create a ‘quote’ image out of it.
Honorable mention: pic.twitter.com/Oq5ocRmYMr
— Make it a quote (@MakeItAQuote) January 1, 2023
And then there are bot accounts that post gut-wrenching lyrics from your favourite artists as a much-needed break from everything else on your timeline.
lord, what will become of me once i've lost my novelty?
— Taylor Swift Lyrics Bot (@TSwiftLyricsBot) February 3, 2023
There are bot accounts for quotes from iconic books and films, and even one that publishes Franz Kafka’s diary entries. Much to the disappointment of their followers, some such accounts have already begun announcing their departure from Twitter thanks to the changes in the API.
This bot publishes the daily entries using API, so I am afraid the verdict has been reached and the sentence imposed. I will escort the raspberrypi this bot resides on to a quarry and drive a knife into its CPU. https://t.co/G81yMY5tcp
— Franz Kafka Diaries (@Franz_K_Diaries) February 2, 2023
It’s going to be difficult to say goodbye to @PepitoTheCat, a bot that posts CCTV footage of a cat named Pépito crawling in through his little kitty door along with exact time stamps.
— Pépito (@PepitoTheCat) February 3, 2023
Elon Musk had made taking down bot and spam accounts one of his top priorities after taking over the reins of the app last year. So this official announcement is not much of a surprise. He is now coming down harshly on all such accounts, infuriating even more Twitter users than he already has. From Twitter Blue to interface tweaks, and now the removal of bots, most of his changes to the social platform so far have received scathing criticism.