Twitter acquisition leaves customers stranded
Smyte left customers little warning, before the servers went dark
Posted on June 22, 2018 8:27 PM.
Twitter yesterday announced the acquisition of Smyte, an API that uses machine learning to detect abuse, harassment, spam, and fraud. They plan on rolling the IP into their own suite of review tools to help foster healthier conversation across the platform. While Twitter said it'd be “winding down” relationships with customers, Smyte announced it would be shutting down, effective immediately. The problem? Smyte gave some customers only seven minutes of notice, then turned off the servers for good.
The change left Smyte’s current customer base stranded, with production issues related to the safety of their own platforms.
Smyte's customers included big names, like GoFundMe, npm, TaskRabbit, and Zendesk. Some lucky customers integrated Smyte in a way that wouldn't disrupt their core service if the API went down. Others, like npm, had production outages 😳
Of course, post-acquisition API shutdowns are not unusual, but the almost immediate removal of Smyte API access from customers that were ostensibly paying for service is not in line with best practice.
Twitter's VP of the consumer engineering team, Mike Montano, tweeted a screenshot of an email he wrote to the team describing what happened.
“There have been concerns around how we’re transitioning Smyte’s customers. We could have done better and are learning from this experience. Here’s the email I just sent to our team.”
[This] is especially ironic in light of Twitter’s promises of “trust and safety” improvements in the months to come. Trust, huh? That’s how it works?
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