Tweetdeck: Eat Shit, Twitter

A few weeks ago:

This morning:

The "TweetDeck" app was simply a wrapper around a web page. The "app" itself barely exists, it's a WebKit "Hello World", but they explicitly went out of their way to ensure that it no longer works. Not just "no longer updated", they fucking sabotaged it on purpose.

Loading the web version sucks, because it means that:

  • I need to keep my web browser logged in to Twitter all the time. When it was an app, Tweetdeck accessed Twitter's server, and that was it. Little Snitch was able to enforce that. None of Twitter's embeds or trackers worked on other sites, and I liked it that way.

    Maybe keeping it in a "private" window would mostly address that, but:

  • Being a browser window and not its own app means that it doesn't get its own dock icon;
  • it counts as a most-recently-used window in the browser window stack;
  • it consequently screws up which screen new "real" browser windows show up on;
  • And probably other annoying shit I haven't even noticed yet.

Fuck you, Twitter. I hate you. I hate you. I hope Apartheid Emerald Mine Space Karen fucks your shit up so badly, the children of VCs tell campfire stories about it for generations.

Update: A few folks below recommended using Fluid App to generate an app-containing-a-web-page (basically what Tweetdeck was before) and so far that seems to be working out pretty well...

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39 Responses:

  1. jal says:

    Twitter seems to be on an endless quest to piss off their users.

    Would something like Fluid work for fixing this? This sort of thing is one of the only real use cases I can think of for tools like that.

  2. jwz says:

    And by the way, even in the web page, this is still how Twitter thinks you should watch videos:

    • CSL3 says:

      Twitter's clusterfuck video formatting has been making me both laugh and roll my eyes for years now. In 2018, Xenu poster-boy Tom Cruise made a(n admittedly reasonable) campaign against motion-smoothing on new tvs, a video that was available almost exclusively on Twitter.

      Then in 2019 - when his military-porn sequel was set to be released "in the summer of 2020" - he released the then-latest trailer exclusively on Twitter... to much well-deserved derision. The studio might as well have released the fuckin' thing on Quibi if they gave that little of a shit (and they claim they did give a shit, which is why a lot of it was shot on IMAX cameras).

      Twitter just can't imagine anyone who'd actually want turn their phone sideways to get a wide shot.

  3. davel says:

    The greatest of my several Twitter hates is that it is a microblog, because by definition all microblog posts are shitposts. The stupidest thing about the Twitter alternatives (Diaspora, Mastodon, etc.) is that they aped the microblogging model.
    I get why Twitter started as a microblog: pre-smart phone text messaging. Twitter could have expanded to article-length—actually fully formed, nuanced thought length—posts any time in the last 15 years, but they never will.

    • Ben says:

      Twitter as a site and company are bad in many ways, but your argument is like saying that McDonald's is bad because they didn't switch from cheeseburgers to lasagna. That's not the point of it, go spend all your time on Substack if you want long form text.

      • davel says:

        Incrementing MAXLENGTH is a difference of degree not kind.

      • tfb says:

        That argument would be more convincing if everyone hadn't had to fight their way laboriously through articles chopped up into a huge stream of tiny fragments on Twitter.   And if there weren't tools to turn these fragments back into the stream of text they actually are.

        Twitter is what happens when someone designs a packet-switched network but then decides that the appropriate user interface to it is to present the packets, one by one, to the user, because the whole layer 4 thing was too hard.  Except it's worse: because those packets once, long ago, had to fit into the headers of other packets, they're fucking minute.

    • Louis says:

      The best part was when @jack[ass] had a big announcement and he tweeted his words as... a JPEG. Well fucking done!

    • granville says:

      Twitter could have expanded to article-length—actually fully formed, nuanced thought length—posts any time in the last 15 years, but they never will.

      Well, they actually announced this (creatively titled "Twitter Notes") like a week ago. Long posts, 2,500 word limit.
      • jwz says:

        "Twitter Notes"??? Oh, no no no, the best part is that they say:

        A few features of Notes (Not "Twitter Notes," Notes):

        Good luck with that! A+ branding. No notes.

        It's like when a band insists that their name is all caps and ends with a period or whatever. "So you're telling me that before discussing your work, you first want to have an argument with everybody about typography? Cool, I can facilitate that."

      • davel says:

        Instead of increasing MAXLENGTH from 280 to 65535, they’re essentially hosting a separate WordPress site that you can tweet links to. It seems “they never will” still holds water.

  4. Paul Hoffman says:

    If you're iOS-ish, Tweetbot has been quite reliable for many years. Due to fuck-you-Twitter, it doesn't have quite as many features as fuck-you-Twitter-on-the-web, but I end up going to my browser for something fuck-you-Twitter-ish less than once a week.

    • Patrick says:

      Twitterrific, similarly for iOS and macos.  I mean, I expect all of the third party clients to come crashing down as the API ages out of support / style / whatever, but until that happens, it's a nice ad-free sequential timeline experience.

      And as soon as they do stop working, I'm never going to bother with that hellsite again because, as you said, fuck-you-Twitter.

  5. Joe Shelby says:

    If you're using Chrome, then it is possible to make a plain web page become an "app", complete with dock icon. it still shares storage memory with the browser (meaning yes, you're logged in to twitter on the browser as well or it will prompt again), but it gets some of the app-like feature sets.

    3-dot menu, More Tools, "Create Shortcut...", then in that dialog, make sure "Open in Window" is set. It will create an app-like thing in the Chrome apps folder and you can see it referenced in the Apps page link from the toolbar. All part of their general PWA support, only it doesn't need the full service-worker hell.

    • Requires to stay logged in to twitter - yes
    • Being a browser window and not its own app means that it doesn't get its own dock icon; - fixed
    • it counts as a most-recently-used window in the browser window stack; - fixed (it remains independent of browser history and won't open new tabs; this was a bug they had for a while but resolved some time around version 86)
    • it consequently screws up which screen new "real" browser windows show up on; - it'll open a tab on the last Chrome you opened that is synced up as the same user
    • And probably other annoying shit I haven't even noticed yet. - probably

    (If there's a service-worker and manifest, then this would instead be 'install application' as a PWA, but it is still subject to those lax bits about sharing localStorage/cookies with the browser itself.)

    Edge and pure Chromium should work the same. I don't know if Brave or Opera (both Chromium-derived) have kept that PWA-like feature.

    I've done this with the Rainloop web mail client on all my macs.

    If you prefer Safari, well, yeah, this sucks.

    • jwz says:

      I don't entrust my web browsing to browsers that are owned by ad surveillance companies.

      • The best I have been able to come up with is the browser solution in Firefox.
        There is a Twitter container extension, that isolates referrals, embeds and trackers. This is like a tailored private window that runs in a tab. I pin that tab, and it's a reasonable compromise - despite agreeing with you that having to compromise is criminal and atrocious.

      • Joe Shelby says:

        Understandable. I personally rather pissed off that Firefox discarded all of its PWA efforts over the last few years. There's no reason PWA support should be a Chrome-only thing (with broken/partial support by Safari but limited since Apple doesn't want to give up the app-store revenue), but Firefox gave up.

        • One benefit of this setup is that it's multi-platform. My Linux desktops sync tabs and extensions with my MacBook - so I have same context everywhere.

          The Linux apps for Twitter suck arse, at least on ARM. Flathub flatpacks are full of buggy ports.

          • Joe Shelby says:

            and any of the other "embed any webpage as an app" tools tend to use nwjs or electron, which then tie you back to the Chromium model and not being able to trust that there's not tracking going on somewhere.

            Yes, Chromium is open-source...but at the same time, the code base is so damn huge that nobody pays attention to every detail in the networking layer unless they're going out of their way to look for security risks...and those types tend not to advertise until after they've seen if there's a bounty to collect.

            • I use Iridium for Chrome-based browsing needs. 100% agree.
              Stupid MS Teams embeds a whole Chromium in it, isolated from knowing system resource availability and usage.

              Chrome should be illegal.

  6. Carlos says:

    For sites I don't trust -- the canonical example being anything Google-owned, which I don't use for any of my personal stuff, but which clients sometimes require me to use -- I use a separate (Firefox) browser profile, so it is its own application and shares no state with the other profile I have open for all my usual browsing.  I make sure to set some window colours differently in the two profiles so I can tell them apart at a glance, even if I fail to put them in their usual spots on the desktop.  It also has the advantage of letting me have that profile persist its Google login cookie without keeping track of my browsing in my main profile.

    Needless to say, both profiles are loaded up with uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, etc.

    I don't have a Mac, so I don't know if Safari supports multiple profiles or not.  If so, it's a great solution.


  7. Eric says:

    Is Elon Musk accepting suitcases full of cash?

    • CSL3 says:

      No, he's the one doling them out so people forget he's accused of multiple sexual harassment and charges, and more payouts related to those charges than even Trump is known for.

    • CSL3 says:

      ...aaaaaaand his cry-baby ass has officially backed out of the purchase deal, causing right-wing incels to lose their collective shit.

      And so, although TweetDeck might be gone, Twitter is once again a safe place to mention his many, many, many crimes of racism, sexual harassment, libertarian bullshit - all whilst posting photos like this:

  8. Michal says:

    I have used Gnome Web (aka Epiphany), which has a web app support to run in isolation. That's probably not available for MacOS, though, I'd guess, but idk.

    And if you use Firefox, you can use their multi-account containers. It's an add-on developed by Mozilla, which can run certain websites in isolated containers. Say, you can create "Twitter" container, and set it to load tweetdeck website in that container.

  9. Zach says:

    I got really really mad about this nonsense too—why have an OS that has an entire vocabulary for managing running apps if everything is just done in a browser—but then I found Tweeten, which seems to be the same thing as the old TweetDeck Mac app except fixed up to work a little better. As far as I've been able to tell using for the last month, it works great and doesn't seem to do anything obnoxious or evil. The catch is that it's closed source from someone asking for donations, so who knows what kind of future it has. I was worried it would stop working today like TweetDeck did, but it's still just fine.

  10. Michael says:

    I feel you pain. I don’t use Twitter, or any social media, anymore and it’s all blocked on my network. But I did enjoy that I could use RSS to follow certain streams until a year or so ago, when suddenly most of the RSS feeds broke and you can’t any new ones.

    If you go to Twitter anonymous, or click on a link, it only lets you browse so far before it gives you a popup trying to get you to sign in.

    They want to be the next Facebook.

    • Carlos says:

      > [twitter] only lets you browse so far before it gives you a popup trying to get you to sign in

      Annoying as hell.  And there are therefore browser extensions specifically to defeat it, which is better than nothing.


  11. 1

    The way I go around the twitter web interface: scripts like generate RSS-feeds from twitter, either my timeline there or to follow single users. As I anyway collect feeds from other sources on a TinyTinyRSS instance, I also fetch twitter via this way.
    Different from plain desktop instance, but addressing the same pain.

  12. Pronoiac says:
    Lifehacker just posted about replacements for Tweetdeck on Mac:

    • Tweeten
    • Turn the website into an app, like with Fluid, which you already did
    • Tweetbot

    That's a short list when I look at this. Kudos on the new editor, btw, this wasn't terrible to compose on an iPad.

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