Chris Ashton

dai11y 13/02/2023

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Twitter is getting rid of its free API tier. That’s a nightmare for accessibility activists.

Twitter has announced that, starting February 9, they will no longer support free access to the Twitter API (both v1.1 and v2). This move has not been popular, including with myself – basic things like the automatic tweeting of my dai11y article will probably just stop working. Only time will tell!

This Mashable article details some of the accessibility bots that may no longer be viable. There are bots that highlight a lack of alt text in newsroom and government tweets, which I covered in dai11y 21/10/2022. There’s also @A11yAwareness, a bot with over 17k followers, which shares tips and articles about accessibility. The owner of the bot will now have to sift through findings and manually schedule all of the account’s tweets to keep it running.

Then there are the various ‘utility’ bots that serve as accessibility tools for users with various disabilities. These include the Thread Reader app (or ‘unroll’), which makes it easier for users to read long Twitter threads. Or an Alt Text Reader app that visually surfaces any manually added alt text, which can otherwise be hard to find. Then there are third party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterific, which no longer work – some of these clients were aimed at providing better accessibility than native Twitter.

This comes on top of Twitter’s accessibility team being let go last November, resulting in no updates to Twitter’s accessibility page since October.

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