APIs for content sites must be free

Social media businesses like Twitter and Reddit rely on content that their users create for free to generate most of their value. As such, they have a social contract to provide APIs for users to download and manipulate that content. However, Twitter and Reddit charge for their APIs and use them to destroy third party apps that no longer aid the companies’ business goals. While a nominal fee for API access is acceptable, charging millions of dollars a year and locking down APIs harms both users and the companies in the long run. It may even drive users to resort to screen scraping to gain access to content.


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