Twitter throttling hits third-party apps

Twitter

Efforts to keep microblogging site stable are damaging third-party Twitter clients

Twitter's battle to keep the microblogging service from falling over is having a dire affect on third-party Twitter apps.

Users of Twitter-related apps such as TweetDeck, Echofon and even Twitter's own mobile software have complained of a lack of updates, after the company imposed strict limits on the number of times third-party apps can access the service.

Over the past week, Twitter has reduced the number of API calls from 350 to 175 an hour. At one point last week, that number was temporarily reduced to only 75.

The tight limit means third-party software is unable to refresh Twitter timelines and messages as frequently, and can result in periods of inactivity if the apps exceed the API limit during a given hour.

Twitter has suffered several outages in the past few weeks (as shown on the Twitter Status page), especially during football World Cup matches when demand has peaked.

Crimping the API is one way to ease demand, but it clearly rankles with the third-party providers who designed their software to update more frequently.

"Twitter API issues continue to affect all clients and API limits are set at a reduced level," an update on TweetDeck's support page states.

"This will very likely lead to 'Rate Limit Exceeded' errors in TweetDeck. We suggest ensuring that you have 'Allow TweetDeck to manage my Twitter API limit' enabled under Settings > Twitter Updates. This should allow TweetDeck to ensure you do not run out of calls, although with such a small API limit, your refresh rates will be very slow."

Users of the Twitter website are unaffected by the reduced API rates.

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