Now that it’s a media company, Twitter is steadily tightening control over its most valuable asset: That all-powerful interest graph, social media’s very own ultimate weapon. The company broke off its longtime partnership with LinkedIn last month, yanking tweets from the professional social network. Instagram also got the ax–new users can no longer automatically find their Twitter buddies. And developers are still clucking with outrage over the API tightening that’ll make it tougher than ever to build on top of the service.
The latest to come under the sword: Tumblr. BuzzFeed reports that, as of last night, no more will new Tumblr users be given the option of finding their friends on Twitter; now they’ll be stuck with just Facebook and Gmail. Oh, the humanity.
Tumblr has issued a very disappointed statement:
To our dismay, Twitter has restricted our users’ ability to “Find Twitter Friends” on Tumblr. Given our history of embracing their platform, this is especially upsetting. Our syndication feature is responsible for hundreds of millions of tweets, and we eagerly enabled Twitter Cards across 70 million blogs and 30 billion posts as one of Twitter’s first partners. While we’re delighted by the response to our integrations with Facebook and Gmail, we are truly disappointed by Twitter’s decision.
To put it as a Tumblr user might:
Twitter apparently chose not to issue a separate statement, but here’s what the company said upon cutting off Instagram last month:
We understand that there’s great value associated with Twitter’s follow graph data, and we can confirm that it is no longer available within Instagram.
Translation: “Yes, we know it’s valuable. No, we’re not giving it away any more.” Or, to put it once more in Tumblr terms:
So who else can we expect to experience such treatment? Well, this BuzzFeed list is instructive. It went live yesterday, suggesting that the aforementioned Tumblr friend-finding feature was not long for this world; by midnight, it was gone.
If Twitter’s going with through with this, the company might want to consider a new approach: Just rip the Band-Aid off and make everyone livid for two weeks. It’s impossible to sustain that kind of anger on a mass scale.