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Twitter requires Javascript or an authenticated API call to fetch a tweet

Bipasha Mandal
Bipasha Mandal
Bipasha Mondal is writer at TechGenyz

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In a recent development, one that has not yet been publicly announced by Twitter, it turns out that the corporate behind the social media platform is trying to meddle with how users can access Twitter. This is a concerning issue for a lot of users, and Andrew Plotkin (Twitter handle: @zarfeblong) in a Tweet tried to shed some light on this issue.

His tweet reads, “Twitter cut off the ability to read a tweet by fetching its URL with a normal HTTP GET. You need Javascript or an authenticated API call.” However, since it is just like any other web browsing, some people have willingly chosen to ignore it.

To break down the tweet, and unearth what its implications might be, a closer look at how it operates is necessary. Any user uses a graphical web browser to access the internet, but that browser is implementing various web standards. What it does essentially is that it eliminates the monopoly of a graphical program in the implementation of various web standards.

The command-line tool, on the other hand, is used by millions of users to download websites which later could be viewed even in offline mode. This goes without saying that this gives the users some sort of freedom to choose how they get to access a website, either online or offline.

Now, Twitter’s latest move that mandates the use of an authenticated API call or Javascript, strips the users of their freedom to access a Tweet, in other words, users from now on will have to use Twitter’s website to access it. Many have pointed out that it could prove to be a cumbersome problem especially for researchers who are perhaps working on data science on tweets. In short, access to Twitter becomes a walled-in experience.

Apparently, there seems to be a way to bypass this: using a user-agent that imitates Google’s crawler might take the user to the content they were looking for.


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