Elon Musk limits number of posts users can read on Twitter

Miu von Furstenberg 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
Elon Musk Awarded With Axel Springer Award In Berlin
SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer Award 2020 on December 01, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images)

Twitter owner Elon Musk announced Saturday (Jul. 01, 2023) the site has applied temporary limits “to address extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation.”

The news came hours after users across several countries could not access the social media site or faced difficulty and delays Saturday. Many received “rate limit exceeded” notifications.

“Rate Limit Exceeded” and “#TwitterDown” were trending. Reports of outages began early Saturday morning, according to DownDetector, and only increased.

Elon Musk "RACING EXTINCTION" Premiere At The Sundance Film Festival - 2015 Park City
Elon Musk attends the “RACING EXTINCTION” Premiere at The Marc Theater on January 24, 2015 in Park City, Utah.

It is not clear what Musk is referring to by data scraping. Still, it appears he means the scraping of large amounts of data used by artificial intelligence (AI) companies to train large language models, which power chatbots such as Open AI's ChatGPT and Google's Bard.

Musk announced that verified accounts are limited to reading 6,000 posts daily, while unverified accounts are limited to 600. New unverified accounts are at 300 posts a day. It was unclear how the site calculated what counted as a read tweet.

Those limits were later updated to let verified users view 10,000 tweets daily, while unverified profiles can only see 1,000.

The number decreases further for new unverified accounts that can view just 500.

More than 7,500 people reported problems using the social media service based on complaints registered on Downdetector, a website that tracks online outages.

Although that's a relatively small number of Twitter's more than 200 million worldwide users, the trouble was widespread enough to cause the #TwitterDown hashtag to trend in some parts of the world.

The service disruptions cropped up a day after Twitter began requiring people to log on to the service to view tweets and profiles — a change in its longtime practice to allow all comers to peruse the chatter on what Musk has frequently touted as the world's digital town square since buying it for $44 billion last year.

Per the BBC, Adam Leon Smith from BCS, the UK's professional body for IT, said the move was “very odd” as limiting users' scroll time would affect the company's advertising revenue.

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Elon Musk attends Heidi Klum's 21st Annual Halloween Party presented by Now Screaming x Prime Video and Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur at Sake No Hana at Moxy Lower East Side on October 31, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Heidi Klum)

In a Friday tweet, Musk described the new restrictions as a “temporary emergency measure” that was taken because “we were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!”

The restrictions could result in users being locked out of Twitter for the day after scrolling through several hundred tweets.

The higher threshold allowed on verified accounts is part of an $8 per month subscription service that Musk rolled out earlier this year in an effort to boost Twitter revenue that has fallen sharply since he took over the company and laid off roughly three-fourths of the workforce to cuts costs and stave off bankruptcy.

Advertisers have since curbed their spending on Twitter, partly because of changes that have allowed more sometimes hateful and prickly content that offends a broader part of the service's audience.


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Last update on 2024-06-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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