‘Free’ New York Times Twitter feed returns from ‘vacation’

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

A week after it looked to be shut down for good, @FreeNYTimes, a Twitter feed offering links to New York Times articles for followers looking to circumvent the paper's online paywall, is back up and running.

"Our server had a major outage and I was traveling and busy with work," the feed's anonymous operator wrote in an e-mail to The Cutline. "Hopefully our followers were not too inconvenienced by our downtime and were able to stay within their 20-article per month limit."

The feed--which uses the Times' public application programming interface, ie. the software that coverts online copy into feeds -- had stopped publishing links to articles on May 19, but returned over the weekend.

A spokeswoman for the Times told The Cutline last week that the apparent shutdown was not the result of any legal threats by the paper.

In March, when the @FreeNYTimes account was created, the Times asked Twitter to disable the feed, claiming it violated the paper's trademark. But when the feed removed the "T" symbol from its Twitter icon, the Times relented and the account continued on--until the recent outage.

"If anything," its operator added, "maybe we saved them from more inane rants from Bill Keller," the Times executive editor who has lately been popping off about how Twitter has destroyed the national attention span.

(Photo illustration by The Cutline)