Twitter API Fail

Thursday 8th January, 2009

I was going to start this post with an “I told you so”, but have realised that my post about how Twitter’s 3rd party API stupidly requires your user password is still in my drafts folder from November. Oops.

Anyway, the punchline is that apparently one of Twitter’s employees gave away a password that can be used on their administration interface by giving it to a 3rd party service. This naturally has caused a bit of a stir.

I hope this acts as a lesson to both users and service providers… handing out your password to anyone, even someone who looks legit like Facebook, is a BAD idea. If you want an example of a better way to do work, services like FriendFeed enable 3rd party integration using a syndication key (that you can revoke if you wish) that gives them limited access. Another option would be OAuth, an emerging open standard for authorisation.