Last month, Twitter shut down the Find Friends feature on Instagram, which let users of the latter service find and follow their Twitter contacts at the click of a button. Of course, this decision came a month after Twitter severed ties with LinkedIn.
Now, Twitter has pulled the plug on a similar feature on Tumblr, which really begs the question: which platform, or platforms, are next in Twitter’s sights?
Facebook, perhaps? We’ll have to wait and see, but that would be a pretty momentous decision. In the meantime, the Tumblr cutoff has triggered ripples through the social space, with Tumblr themselves as shocked as anyone by the decision.
To our dismay, Twitter has restricted our users’ ability to “Find Twitter Friends” on Tumblr. Given our history of embracing their platform, this is especially upsetting. Our syndication feature is responsible for hundreds of millions of tweets, and we eagerly enabled Twitter Cards across 70 million blogs and 30 billion posts as one of Twitter’s first partners. While we’re delighted by the response to our integrations with Facebook and Gmail, we are truly disappointed by Twitter’s decision.
After the Instagram breakaway, Twitter explained their rationale by saying that:
We understand that there’s great value associated with Twitter’s follow graph data, and we can confirm that it is no longer available within Instagram.
They haven’t responded directly to the Tumblr move, aside from saying they have nothing to add to the statement above. However, this doesn’t appear to be an action that has the support of everybody at the company – Twitter engineer Alex Choi has expressed his dismay on, where else, Twitter, in a response to New York Times columnist Nick Bilton.
— alex choi (@xc) August 23, 2012
This is yet another in a series of examples of Twitter closing the garden door on developers and social platforms that it once used – and treated – as partners. If I was an independent party who was building a business on or that featured Twitter in any serious capacity I’d be getting increasingly concerned for my future.