The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Techdirt says it will leave Twitter after automated function breaks

The issue stems from WordPress parent company Automattic losing access to Twitter's API for a key feature in the plugin Jetpack.

The issue stems from WordPress parent company Automattic losing access to Twitter's API for a key feature in the plugin Jetpack.

A sign attached to Twitter's global headquarters is viewed from a sidewalk on Market Street in San Francisco, California. June 18, 2014. (Photo: Matthew Keys/The Desk/Creative Commons)
A sign attached to Twitter’s global headquarters is viewed from a sidewalk on Market Street in San Francisco, California. June 18, 2014. (Photo: Matthew Keys/The Desk/Creative Commons)

Techdirt, a website that covers technology-related issues, says it will stop posting updates on its Twitter account after its content management system lost access to a key feature.

On Wednesday, Techdirt founder and CEO Mike Masnick said the website would soon lose access to a function of its content management system that allowed publishers to automatically post links to their articles on Twitter.

The function is part of Jetpack, a plugin used by publishers who operate their websites using the WordPress software. The plugin utilized Twitter’s application programming interface, or API, to offer publishers various social media-related tools, including the seamless posting of article links to Twitter when stories are published on WordPress-powered websites.

Twitter made a significant portion of its API available to third-party developers for free. But last year, Twitter’s new owner and CEO Elon Musk said the company would begin charging developers anywhere from $100 to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month for access to the platform’s API.

Jetpack, which is owned by WordPress parent company Automatic, is one of the most-popular plugins used by publishers with WordPress-powered websites. On Wednesday, Masnick said Techdirt was recently informed by Automattic that the popularity of Jetpack meant the company would have to pay a significant amount of money to continue supporting various features.

“We have attempted to work with Twitter in good faith to negotiate new terms, but we have not been able to reach an agreement,” the notice sent to Techdirt and other publications read. “As a result, the Twitter connection on Jetpack Social will cease to work, and your blog posts will no longer be auto-shared to Twitter. You will still be able to share your posts to Twitter manually by pasting the post link into the body of your tweet. ”

On Wednseday, Masnick said Techdirt wouldn’t bother to post content through its Twitter feed, and instead would join other news organizations like NPR and PBS in going dark on the social platform over Musk’s antics.

“Elon has every right to cut us off from posting our content to Twitter,” Masnick said in a note to readers. “But, really, our Twitter feed drove little to no traffic anyway, and it has limited value. It seems like a bizarre decision to cut off a service that powers 43% of the world’s websites, making it way more difficult for those services to put their content on Twitter, but Elon — I’m repeatedly told — is some sort of intergalactic business genius, and I’m just some guy who writes words on the Internet.”

The decision to stop posting content to Twitter comes several months after Techdirt said it would stop embedding Twitter posts in its articles. At the time, Masnick said volatility at the social media company immediately following Musk’s acquisition meant the publication couldn’t rely on Twitter to support embeds over the long-term; instead of embedding tweets, Masnick affirmed Techdirt articles would contain screenshots of posts instead, which was viewed as a more-permanent alternative.

This week, Masnick said Techdirt was considering “alternative services” to Twitter like Mastodon and Bluesky, but wasn’t thinking of ways to maintain its Twitter account now that support for Jetpack has been pulled.

“Protocol systems not subject to the whims of some random dude seem like a much safer and more sustainable bet,” Masnick affirmed.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Industries » Social Media » Techdirt says it will leave Twitter after automated function breaks