Twitter has announced that it will make its API free to use for accounts that post public announcements such as weather alerts, transportation information, and emergency warnings. Verified government or public-owned services that share public utility alerts will also be eligible for free API usage.
Last month, Twitter introduced new API pricing tiers that included a 1,500 tweets per month limit for free API tier users and a 3,000 tweets per month limit for $100 basic tier users. However, these restrictions were not sufficient for public service announcement accounts. As a result, National Weather Services (NWS) tweeted last month that its ability to post automated tweets had been limited, while New York's Metro Transit Service (MTS) also said that it will end its public alert system on Twitter operated through various accounts.
The API pricing changes have had a significant impact on several tools. In April, Microsoft removed the option for Twitter from its social media sharing tool for advertisers, while Flipboard announced that its Twitter integration had stopped working. Last week, WordPress also announced that users would no longer be able to automatically share their posts to Twitter using the Jetpack Social product.
While Elon Musk & Co. has made API usage free for certain government-run services, it is still unclear what the future holds for disaster management accounts that relied on Twitter to manage situations. Nevertheless, Twitter's decision to make its API free for public service announcement accounts will help ensure that vital information is disseminated to the public, especially during emergencies.