Twitter: PeopleBrowsr granted temporary restraining order

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Social networking site Twitter has been taken to court by a disgruntled data analysis firm over an issue relating to data access.

PeopleBrowsr was granted a temporary restraining order by the San Francisco Superior Court compelling the social media site to provide it with full Firehose access.

Firehose is the term used in Twitter to describe the real-time stream of more than 400 million tweets in raw form, which jet across the feed each day.

The incident is the latest in a series of issues between Twitter and third-party developers as the social media platform continues its switch from being a communications platform provider, to a full-blown media company.

PeopleBrowsr founder Jodee Rich said the firm relied on Twitter's original focus on a promise of openness when they chose to invest millions of dollars into the platform as a method of providing their clients with a number of Internet marketing services through the data which the service collects.

He said: "Without the Firehose, PeopleBrowsr cannot provide the products its users and contracting partners expect, and will suffer devastating damage to its goodwill and business relationships."

PeopleBrowsr pays Twitter more than $1m dollars a year to use the Firehose service but their relationship has now hit the rocks with Twitter looking to renegotiate the contract.

The firm made a deal with Twitter back in 2010 to licence the Firehose, using it to provide data for its clients. However, the social media platform has since licenced firehose to three other clients notifying PeopleBrowsr that it would be terminating their original licensing agreement. The firm was told by Twitter to then licence the data through a reseller as opposed to through Twitter itself which is the current system.

PeopleBrowsr have been granted the restraining order by a judge at San Francisco Superior Court which will last until January 8, 2013 - the hearing date for the preliminary injunction.

However, Twitter has responded by suggesting that what they did was simply in line with the contract the pair signed which gave either party the opportunity to terminate the contract for any reason as long as they gave a 30 day notice period. They also suggested that the claim from PeopleBrowsr was totally 'without merit'.

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