Elon Musk proposes a monthly $100 charge for developers who want to access Twitter's API, saying it would clean up 'bad' bots

Elon Musk SXSW 2018
Twitter owner Elon Musk proposed charging $100 a month for access to Twitter's API.FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO
  • Elon Musk proposed charging $100 a month for access to Twitter's API.

  • He said the $100 fee along with ID verification for Twitter's API would clean up "bad" bots.

  • Free API was being "abused badly" by bot scammers, Musk tweeted.

Elon Musk on Thursday suggested charging $100 a month for access to Twitter's application program interface (API).

In a tweet, Musk said free API was being "abused badly" by "bot scammers & opinion manipulators." It was easy for 100,000 bots "to do bad things" when there was no cost or verification process in place for API access, he said.

"Just ~$100/month for API access with ID verification will clean things up greatly," Musk added.

His proposal followed Twitter's Thursday announcement that it would start charging for access to the platform's API from February 9.

"Twitter data are among the world's most powerful data sets," the company tweeted. "We're committed to enabling fast & comprehensive access so you can continue to build with us."

Twitter didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Twitter offers free and paid packages for its API, according to its website. The Premium package costs between $149 and $2,499 a month, depending on how many tweets a developer requests.

Developers can use Twitter's API to create third-party services, such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific. However, some of these tools were forced to shut down after Twitter blocked them from accessing its API in mid-January. The Information reported there was speculation Twitter may have suspended access because it failed to boost ad revenue.

Some Tweetbot and Twitterrific users told Insider they were angry that access to third-party apps had been withdrawn and said they were considering leaving Twitter.

Musk's proposed $100 monthly charge comes at a time when he's trying to monetize more of Twitter's features. After he acquired Twitter in late October, he introduced paid verification for Twitter Blue, costing $8 a month.

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