At the start, critics often said, “Twitter is fun, but it’s not useful.” At one point @ev responded dryly with, “Neither is ice cream.” Things have come a long way in a short time. We recognized potential early but users and platform developers would demonstrate how much more Twitter could be. Fostering an open and increasingly important network is not as easily dismissed as it once was—but it’s still fun!
Now that we know more about how Twitter is being used, we’ve made changes to our Terms of Service—these are the basic rules that go along with using Twitter. The revisions more appropriately reflect the nature of Twitter and convey key issues such as ownership. For example, your tweets belong to you, not to Twitter. With these revisions, we expect some discussion so here are a few highlights from the updated page.
Advertising—In the Terms, we leave the door open for advertising. We’d like to keep our options open as we’ve said before.
Ownership—Twitter is allowed to “use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute” your tweets because that’s what we do. However, they are your tweets and they belong to you.
APIs—The apps that have grown around the Twitter platform are flourishing and adding value to the ecosystem. You authorize us to make content available via our APIs. We’re also working on guidelines for use of the API.
SPAM—Abusive behavior and spam is also outlined in these terms according to the rules we’ve been operating under for some time.
These updates complement the spirit of Twitter. If we’ve left something out, or the nature of the service changes, then we’ll revisit the Terms—there’s a feedback link on the page. We’re in the process of sending an email about the revisions now. It’s important that everyone who tweets, develops apps, or is simply interested in Twitter understands that it’s not about the technology, it’s about how we all use the service that matters most.