For the first time since February, new users can log in to the Android Twitter client Falcon Pro — but only if they create a fake Twitter app, in an apparent violation of the social network's terms of service. Falcon Pro has been closed to new users since hitting the ceiling of 100,000 user tokens that Twitter has established for many third-party clients. As of yesterday, in what the developer deemed "a little experiment," would-be Falcon Pro users are getting a new chance to try it out.
In a post on Google+, developer Joaquim Vergès announced he had removed Falcon Pro from the Google Play store and made it a free download at its own domain. Existing users of the app who already have a Twitter token can download the update free from the website and log in through Twitter as usual. The update adds an optional "mobilizer" to make webpages more readable and includes other tweaks and bug fixes.
But Vergès, who did not respond to a request for comment, teased another feature: "I want to try a little experiment with this version of the app," he wrote. "If you don't own a token, there's still a way to log in... but you have to find it." It didn't take long for someone to discover the method: two hours later, another Google+ user posted the solution. After a user presses the corners of the app in a certain sequence, then shakes the phone, a dialog box appears in Falcon Pro offering a "custom login."
Falcon Pro tells you how to register a nonexistent app
From there, Falcon Pro tells you how to register a nonexistent app on Twitter's developer site, then copy the API keys into Falcon Pro. It's a novel way of circumventing Twitter's token limits, but it's also not likely to stand. Twitter declined to comment, but it's hard to imagine that the company would allow users to use API keys in this way for long.
Third-party clients make up a minority of overall Twitter usage, but they tend to attract highly engaged power users who prefer the apps' looks and features to Twitter's own. The ongoing Falcon Pro saga shows developers going to new lengths to keep their products in the marketplace. Falcon Pro might be the first app to employ such a convoluted scheme to draw new users to the product. But as more third-party Twitter clients begin hitting their token limits, it may not be the last.