Musk cites scraping by unidentified outsiders to justify the usage limits, which are currently set at 8,000 tweet views per day for verified users, 800 for unverified users, and 400 for new unverified users.
(Credit: Getty Images/Moor Studio)
Twitter today introduced an amazing new feature for a social network: mandatory rationing.
Owner and Chairman Elon Musk he tweeted around 1 p.m. ET (opens in a new window) that Twitter would limit the view rate, even among users who pay $8 or $11 a month for Twitter Blue, “to address the extreme levels of data mining and manipulation of the system.” Initially, Twitter applied the following “temporary” limits:
Verified accounts are limited to reading 6,000 posts per day
Unverified accounts at 600 posts/day
New unverified accounts up to 300/day
After Twitter (Opens in a new window)possibly jokingly, that he had reached that limit himself (“Rate limited due to reading all posts about rate limits”), Musk followed 1.45 hours(Opens in a new window) later to say those limits would be raised: 8,000 for verified, 800 for unverified, and 400 for new unverified.
Without a live count of how many tweets you’ve seen, you won’t know you’re near that threshold until you cross it and stop a “Rate Limit Exceeded” Error (Opens in a new window).
Sometime on Friday, Twitter also blocked the view of tweets on the web (opens in a new window) without being logged in. That would make it impossible for people to see tweets from users who have blocked them unless they borrow someone else’s account or create another. However, there doesn’t appear to be any broken tweet embeds on other sites.
Musk did not tweet that restriction, instead discussing it in responses to other Twitter users.
For example, after Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney complained(Opens in a new window) That this move, in addition to other walled garden moves from other sites, made the internet feel “more and more broken,” Musk replied (Opens in a new window) on Friday that “several hundred organizations (perhaps more) were extremely aggressively mining data from Twitter, to the point of affecting the actual user experience.”
None of these responses appear to have named these organizations, although Musk has implicit(Opens in a new window) that generative AI developers are scraping Twitter to feed their great language models.
CEO Linda Yaccarino, whom Musk had hired to run the company after stepping down as CEO in early June, had yet to tweet about it as of mid-afternoon Saturday.
This is just the latest in a series of surprises, many unpleasant, on Twitter since Elon Musk bought it in October for $44 billion ($13 billion borrowed). The platform had to halt and redo the rollout of paid verification for Twitter Blue subscribers, sent the vast majority of its workforce packing in mass layoffs, ended enforcement of many disinformation rules, invited many of its the worst violators of those rules, it had a name – the brand’s advertisers fled in response, ripped off the user verification badges they had been awarded under the old regime, returned some of those badges to high-profile users who hadn’t asked for favor, threatened to charge public agencies fees for using their service for automated alerts before returning, saw privacy features briefly break without explanation, and suffered multiple outages including on a Saturday morning.
Earlier on Friday, Musk smug (Opens in a new window) that “This platform hit another all-time high in user seconds last week.” However, outside researchers have found declining usage since its acquisition, while news publishers have also reported receiving far less traffic from Twitter.
Multiple alternatives to Twitter have emerged or are about to launch: the federated social network Mastodon, the decentralized Twitter-like service Bluesky backed by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and an upcoming app based on Meta’s Instagram that, it will reportedly be called Threads. But they have yet to persuade many of Twitter’s most visible users to take their jokes and business elsewhere.