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Twitter Leaves Smyte Clients In the Lurch By Disabling API

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Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When it comes to internet trolling, which platform is the worst? I want to say Facebook, because how much I dislike them, but the truth is Twitter.  While I am not pointing fingers at the platform itself, I think that people who use Twitter can be horrible, horrible people.  That’s not to say that everyone is, but there are some people who can get really mean when they “comment” on another person’s post.  Which is why I was happy to hear that Twitter announced they had purchased the company Smyte.

Smyte is a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in safety, spam and security issues.  Twitter made the following announcement:

“Today, we’re very excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Smyte, a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in safety, spam, and security issues. Smyte’s team, technology and company mission are aligned with our focus on improving the health of conversation on Twitter, and we believe this will be a powerful addition to our ongoing work.”

twitter

Normally what happens when a larger company, like Twitter, purchases a smaller company, like Smyte is that they keep it running for a certain period of time.  Especially since the company could have existing contracts.  Which it did.  So while the purchase was a good move by Twitter, they didn’t handle the execution very well.  In fact, they made the announcement, and then shut it down 30 minutes later.  When there is an existing contract, the best way to deal with it, is to let the contract run out.  Honoring whatever agreement was made.  But that’s not what Twitter did, and it left some companies in the lurch.

Twitter really needed this acquisition, because this is something that they have to deal with on a daily basis, but they didn’t handle it well.  Tech Crunch reported that Smyte had been deactivated, stating:

“According to reports from those affected, Smyte disabled access to its API with very little warning to clients, and without giving them time to prepare. Customers got a phone call, and then – boom – the service was gone. Clients had multi-year contracts in some cases. Twitter declined to comment, but we understand it was making phone calls to affected Smyte customers today to match them with new service providers.”

smyte

I think what irks me the most is that there was no warning that this was going to occur, and it left some clients pretty upset.  I can’t say that I blame them.  I mean, how difficult is it for Twitter to announce that they’re going to be shutting the service down? Because of this, they’ve left several companies with a big mess on their hands.  Smyte’s customers include Indiegogo, GoFundMe, TaskRabbit, Meetup, Zendesk and many other popular online communities.  What do you think?  Was this kind of shady of Twitter to do in the first place?  Or is their prerogative now that they own the company?

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