Twitter lifts ban on UberMedia apps

Following some changes made to its Twitter apps UberSocial and Twidroyd, UberMedia is back in the mobile-app stores and apparently in Twitter's good graces.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

After a weekend in the dog house, UberMedia's Twitter apps UberSocial (formerly UberTwitter) and Twidroyd are back in the mobile-app stores.

UberMedia's Twitter apps ran afoul of Twitter on Friday, which banned the apps over certain policy violations, preventing new users from downloading them and current users from using them. The ban affected Android users of Twidroyd and BlackBerry and iPhone users of UberTwitter.

"These violations include, but aren't limited to, a privacy issue with private Direct Messages longer than 140 characters, trademark infringement, and changing the content of users' Tweets in order to make money," according to a statement released Friday from the microblogging site.

In response, UberMedia was forced to make certain changes to its apps, including renaming UberTwitter to UberSocial. In an initial review, Twitter confirmed the changes made by UberMedia on Sunday, promising the apps would become available again.

A check of the UberMedia apps confirmed that Twidroyd had returned to the Android Market and the renamed UberSocial was in BlackBerry's App World but had not yet resurfaced in Apple's App Store.

In a statement e-mailed to CNET today, Twitter confirmed the changes made so far by UberMedia:

"On Sunday, Twitter reinstated access to the applications twidroyd and UberSocial for Blackberry (formerly UberTwitter), which were suspended on Friday for policy violations. Our initial review indicates that steps have been taken to remedy the violations for these applications. We will review these applications on an ongoing basis for compliance. We will review UberSocial for iPhone and UberCurrent, two other applications suspended on Friday, when they are provided to us."

The ban has led to a bit of a "he said, she said" situation. UberMedia had expressed surprise over the ban, claiming that Twitter hadn't raised any concerns about policy violations beforehand. However, Twitter has stated that it's been talking to UberMedia about these issues since early last year.

In a posting on the Q&A site Quora, UberMedia CEO Bill Gross shared the specific reasons why Twitter raised a ruckus over the apps, citing problems with a tweet-elongation service named tmi.me, issues over certain changed links, and the UberTwitter name.

Gross's post triggered several responses, including an official one from Twitter. That then opened the door for other people to chime in on the situation, some critical of UberMedia and others critical of Twitter, especially since the move to ban the apps affected users without any advance warning.

But the statement that Twitter shared with CNET served as its warning to third-party developers who don't play by the rules.

"Developers using the Twitter API have a responsibility not to violate the rules designed to protect our users and the long-term health and vitality of the Twitter platform. If you use the API that we support at great cost with our infrastructure and engineers, you sign up to abide by the rules for its use. While we don't pre-review every application the way, say, Apple does in its App Store, that is no excuse to violate the rules or see what you can get away with. Hundreds of thousands of developers who use our API daily do so within the framework we set up, without the need for close oversight, threats or actions that impact users."