SYRACUSE, Ind. (WANE) – Changes may be coming to Twitter’s API (Application Programming Interface) service soon and this threatens to disrupt information posted by the National Weather Service.
Beginning on February 9th, Twitter will be replacing free API access with a paid basic tier. The API is something third parties can use to create programmable bots that post content automatically.
In the case of the National Weather Service, this threatens to disrupt the automatic posting of weather information that in some cases is very time sensitive. For example, a Tornado Warning may not be able to be automatically posted to the platform and will require a manual post.
However, the exact impacts remain unclear. In a statement from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) NWS Public Affairs, they encourage the public to always seek multiple methods of receiving weather information:
“So we are aware of the announced changes to Twitter’s API service. We will work with Twitter on the impact this change may have on our Twitter feeds. Communications via social media is a supplemental service provided by the National Weather Service to extend the reach of NWS information. Twitter feeds and tweets do not always reflect the most current information for forecasts, warnings, and watches, and the public should always have multiple means for receiving weather information and alerts.”
There is an automated account that has been created by an outside developer that automatically posts everything sent out by the National Weather Service Northern Indiana office. It remains unclear if this account will be impacted because it is not affiliated with the weather service.
Elon Musk did tweet on February 4th that in “Responding to feedback, Twitter will enable a light, write-only API for bots providing good content that is free.” It is possible this could be used by the weather service, but details regarding this service have not yet been sent out. It is also uncertain whether the government will finance the paid tier API for the weather service at this time.
We will continue to monitor any changes to Twitter’s API access and update this story with any future confirmed impacts. For now, you should familiarize yourself with other means of receiving weather information if you rely primarily on your Twitter feed, such as our WANE Weather App or WANE 15 News App. You can enable notifications to receive the latest alerts. You can also visit our WANE 15 Forecast Page to get up to speed with the latest weather information.