Twitter forced to keep firehose flowing

Social media analytics service PeopleBrowsr has won a temporary restraining order against Twitter, forcing it to carry on supplying the company with its firehose of data.

PeopleBrowsr says Twitter was threatening to cut off the firehose tomorrow, following a decision to restrict access to a smaller number of partners. It claims Twitter told it in may that PeopleBrowsr was ‘no longer a strategic fit’.

The injunction, issued  in San Francisco Superior Court yesterday, means that PeopleBrowsr will keep access to the firehose until a court hearing on January 8.

“We relied on Twitter’s promise of openness when we invested millions of dollars and thousands of hours of development time,” says PeopleBrowsr founder and CEO Jodee Rich.

“Long term supply is essential as this industry matures. We made this application to ensure full unrestricted access to the firehose for our enterprise and government clients.”

PeopleBrowsr develops APIs and social data intelligence, using the firehose, which consists of more than 400 million tweets per day. The company says it had a strong relationship with Twitter for four years, paying it $1 million per year.

Twitter says that PeopleBrowser should take a closer look at the contract it signed.

“This is Contracts 101. Although PeopleBrowsr attempts to dress its case up as some sort of antitrust or interference case, it is not,” Twitter says in its response to the court.

“PeopleBrowsr and Twitter negotiated, at arm’s length, an integrated contracgt with a one year term, after which either party could terminate at will after giving 30 days’ notice. Twitter has exercised that right.”