Twitter started charging for its API to businesses and government groups earlier, with a price starting at $42,000 a month. This decision caused many of those businesses and groups to abandon using Twitter altogether. Today, Twitter made yet another one of its decision reversals, and will now allow government and public safety groups access to its API for free, but just for emergency alerts.
One of the most important use cases for the Twitter API has always been public utility. Verified gov or publicly owned services who tweet weather alerts, transport updates and emergency notifications may use the API, for these critical purposes, for free.— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) May 2, 2023
The decision was announced on the Twitter Dev account. It stated that government and publicly owned groups "who tweet weather alerts, transport updates, and emergency notifications" can use its API free of charge for those specific messages.
Previous to today's decision, groups like the Seattle Police Department and the New York City Subway announced they would deactivate their use of Twitter for alerts due to the new paid API subscription. It remains to be seen if these groups will return to Twitter.
The company seems to be used to changing its mind after its user base don't care for its actions. Twitter previously said its blue verified checkmark could only be received if you paid for a Twitter Blue subscription. A few days after those old checkmarks were removed from legacy verified owners, some of those accounts got them back, without them having to pay anything.