Twitter cripples just-launched Thunderclap for automating tweets en masse

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Twitter today suspended just-launched Thunderclap’s access to its API, rendering the service, which seeks to amplify tweets through automation, completely useless.

Brand-new Thunderclap refers to itself as a “crowdspeaking platform,” and riffs on the crowdfunding model to help tweeters make noise and reverberate their messages with force around the information network.

Twitter sent a suspension notice to Thunderclap operator De-De Thursday afternoon, De-De founder Hashem Bajwa told BetaBeat. Twitter has yet to publicly comment on the matter, but the suspension notice insinuated that Thunderclap was not compliant with Twitter’s API terms of service.

So what’s the big deal? Automated tweets en masse are a big no-no in Twitter land.

Using the service, a single Twitter user creates a Thunderclap, a tweet the person wants to broadcast to the masses, and sets a goal to attract a set number of followers by a certain date. Each of the supporting followers authorize Thunderclap to tweet on their behalf, so should the tweet campaign surpass the threshold by the time set, an onslaught of identical tweets are pushed out into the Twittersphere simultaneously.

On paper, Twitter’s issue with the service is surely that Thunderclap acts like spammer. Specifically, Thunderclap violates Twitter’s automation policy on posting “duplicate content over multiple accounts.”

Just yesterday, the first Thunderclap tipped and was tweeted by nearly 2,000 people who pledged to support a political mission championed by Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibi.

It seems that Thunderclap has the potential to pack a powerful punch for any one with a cause — think celebrities, politicians, and even brands. As Forbes staff writer Jeff Bercovici pointed out, this makes Thunderclap a potential competitor to Twitter, and that could very well be the darker motivation behind Twitter’s decision to disable the service. Twitter offers a variety of Promoted Products that advertisers must purchase to achieve additional exposure for their tweets or accounts.

Thunderclap says its investigating the matter with Twitter, and a tweet from the service two hours ago suggests that Thunderclap will be up and running shortly. Still, the future of this new crowdspeaking platform seems to be jeopardy.

Twitter declined to comment on this story.

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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