Social media platform Twitter is temporarily limiting the number of posts that users will be allowed to read per day, after seeing “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation,” according to executive chairman Elon Musk.
In a July 1 post, Musk said the temporary limits will see verified accounts capped at 10,000 posts per day, while unverified and new, unverified accounts are capped at 1,000 and 500 posts per day respectively:
Now to 10k, 1k & 0.5k
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 1, 2023
Twitter users had been reporting issues on the platform over the last few days including the inability to retrieve tweets, missing timelines, and being met with a “rate limited exceeded” message, leading to the hashtag #TwitterDown #TwitterFail to trend in certain jurisdictions.
Real-time outage monitor website Downdetector has seen thousands of user-submitted reports claiming Twitter outages over the last 24 hours.
France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the East and West Coasts of the United States appear to be the most affected regions, according to Is The Service Down.
Musk didn’t clarify what may be responsible for scraping Twitter’s data and didn’t elaborate on the root cause behind the “system manipulation” claim, but said that their data was being “pillaged” so much it was degrading service for users.
Some suggest that the extreme “data scraping” has been caused by web-browsing-enabled artificial intelligence chatbots, such as OpenAI’s GPT-4.
According to Twitter’s developer documents, rate limits are imposed to manage the volume of requests made to Twitter’s Application Program Interface (API).
“These limits help us provide the reliable and scalable API that our developer community relies on,” the document states.
Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and former CEO of Twitter was among the few that defended the recent moves in a July 2 post, noting that “Running Twitter is hard” and that the decision was likely made for the greater good of the platform.
He added that he’d like to see Twitter move to a “truly censorship-resistant open protocol” like Bitcoin and Nostr:
And I do hope they consider building on truly censorship-resistant open protocols like bitcoin and nostr to help ease that burden. Good for all, and critical to preserve the open internet.
— jack (@jack) July 1, 2023