This handy Twitter video download bot now receives 7,500 requests per day – TechCrunch


Not all bots on Twitter are spammers or democracy hackers. You may recall seeing requests to the Thread Reader app bot to ‘unwind’ a long thread into a readable copy, for example, and in the last few days you may have spotted some Twitter users. tagging a new bot, @this_vid, on tweets with a video file attached. The handy bot (aka DownloadThisVideo) offers a way to download both videos and GIFs from the Twitter site for easier offline viewing.

The idea for @this_vid comes from Shalvah Adebayo, a backend developer born and raised in Nigeria, and currently living in Lagos. Shalvah says he embarked on development in 2013, during his final year of high school (high school).

“There was a lower class kid that people spoke of in wonder – ‘he knows programming!’ », Explains Shalvah. “I had no idea what it was like back then,” he continues. “I looked at a command line quiz app he created and was impressed. I had won a laptop in a contest a few months ago, so the next day I walked into the only computer store I knew of and asked them for “programming videos”. They gave me something on C ++. I watched these at home that day and went back the next day to purchase the actual software (the IDE). That’s how I started writing C ++, ”he says.

Since then, Shalvah has moved from C ++ development to Android development and then to web development. He went to college and then quit and started working in the tech industry. Today, Shalvah works full time as a remote software engineer for an engineering consulting and product design company in South Africa called Deimos Cloud.

He creates apps in his spare time as side projects and has already opened other bots like @RemindMe_OfThis, which allows you to set reminders by tweets, and TwitterBack, which is like the Twitter version of Facebook’s “On This Day” feature.

However, the Twitter video download bot has become one of his most popular creations and now receives around 7,500 user requests per day, and up to 9,500 during peak hours.

Shalvah explains that he came up with the idea because it was a personal issue. Internet access where he lives can be spotty and the Twitter app’s video experience was not ideal. He said he preferred to download the videos to watch them offline, but couldn’t find an easy way to do so.

“I knew a few sites and apps that did this, but I don’t like installing apps and I don’t like the friction associated with using a site,” says the developer. “Also, I wanted an asynchronous process, where you could just say ‘hi, I want to download this’ and keep browsing Twitter and come back later to pick up your download.”

Additionally, Shalvah says he’s seen plenty of other Twitter users asking how they could post the video to almost every popular thread where someone has tweeted a video.

The bot, @this_vid, has been up and running since May 2018. After sending it out to his own followers first, Shalvah then started telling people whenever he saw them asking on a thread how to get a particular video that was shared. . This has led to its growing popularity around Twitter.

“I think it really solved a problem for a lot of people, and that’s what made it so popular. So there were a lot of people, friends and strangers, who tweeted about it to their followers, and it kind of grew organically, ”he says.

There are some videos that @this_vid cannot download, because the poster – often a sports organization (eg. The nfl ) – restricted it from downloads. But in most cases, all you have to do is mention @this_vid in a reply to the original tweet, and you will receive a link with the video download within a few minutes.

The bot works by querying the Twitter API for tweet data and then fetching the media url along with a few other fallbacks.

Since Twitter is speed limited, only allowing the bot to tweet 300 every three hours, Shalvah made the download link for each user easy to remember at: username. This way you can access your downloads even when the bot can’t respond.

The bot itself is free to use, Open source and supported by Patreon donations.

Some fear that people could upload videos to which they do not have the rights through a bot like this, or post them elsewhere and take credit for it. Shalvah says he doesn’t think the bot violates Twitter’s copyright policy, terms, or developer guidelines.

So far, most people seem to be using the bot for personal use. But Twitter hasn’t always been kind to third-party developers, so it remains to be seen how long @this_vid will last.

Shalvah says he intends to keep @this_vid free and will continue to develop it.

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