In a sea change, Twitter says it has restored free access to a key tool to verified government and “publicly owned” services so they can tweet weather, traffic and other alerts after the transit agency New York City said earlier this week that it would no longer do so. use the platform for your service notices.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is among countless official and unofficial accounts that abruptly lost access to Twitter’s API, or application programming interface, to send automatic alerts about service changes and emergencies last week. On Thursday afternoon, senior executives agreed to stop posting service alerts on the platform altogether.
The decision put the nation’s largest transportation network among a growing number of accounts, from National Public Radio to Elton John, that have reduced their presence on Twitter or abandoned the platform since Elon Musk acquired it.
Twitter had signaled that the days of private accounts spreading vast amounts of information for free may be coming to an end. Last month, the company announced a new pricing system that it would charge for access to its API, which is used by accounts that post frequent alerts, such as weather and traffic agencies.
MTA officials estimated the cost could be as high as $50,000 per month. For a transit agency facing a multibillion-dollar shortfall, paying so much raised concerns.
So last Thursday, the MTA told its million followers on Twitter that it will no longer use the platform for service alerts and information.
On Tuesday, Twitter backtracked, announcing that “publicly owned or verified government services that tweet weather alerts, transportation updates, and emergency notifications can use the API, for these critical purposes, free of charge.”
In recent days, MTA officials have been in contact with Twitter’s development team, though the agency hasn’t said whether it will repost service alerts on Twitter in light of the change.
An MTA representative did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
Associated Press writer Jake Offenhartz contributed to this report from New York.