According to Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, the platform has implemented a temporary restriction on the maximum number of tweets that users can read within a day.
In a recent tweet, Mr. Musk announced new limitations for unverified Twitter accounts, stating that they can now only read up to 1,000 posts per day. For newly created unverified accounts, the limit is set at 500 posts per day. In contrast, verified accounts enjoy a higher limit of 10,000 posts per day.
Initially, Mr. Musk imposed even stricter limitations, but he quickly revised them just a few hours after the announcement. He explained that these temporary limits were implemented to address the “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation” that were taking place on the platform. However, he did not provide further details regarding what he meant by “system manipulation” in this specific context.
According to Mr. Musk, the motivation behind these measures was the excessive data scraping that was occurring and negatively impacting the service for regular users. Consequently, users were prompted to log in to view Twitter content.
This action by Mr. Musk is described as a temporary emergency measure, indicating that it is a short-term solution to the identified problem.
The precise meaning of “data scraping” as mentioned by Mr. Musk may refer to the extraction of large volumes of data utilized by artificial intelligence (AI) companies for training purposes. These data sets are crucial for training large language models, which power chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. Specifically, platforms such as Reddit and Twitter, with their extensive repositories of billions of posts, are highly valuable sources of training data for AI companies.
However, it is worth noting that platforms like Twitter and Reddit aim to monetize access to their data and may require compensation for its usage.
Platforms like Twitter and Reddit are now considering charging for access to their valuable data. Steve Huffman, Reddit’s CEO, expressed dissatisfaction with the current situation, stating that they shouldn’t give away the Reddit corpus of data to the world’s largest companies for free. Twitter has already implemented charges for accessing its API, which affects third-party apps and researchers, including AI companies.
This move may have various motivations. Elon Musk, the new boss of Twitter, has been promoting Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service. It is possible that he envisions a model where users need to pay for a complete Twitter experience and unlimited post access.
Verified status, previously provided for free to prominent accounts by Twitter, now requires a monthly subscription fee starting at $8 (£6.30). This status is attainable for any user, regardless of their profile, upon payment.
Recent reports from Downdetector, an online outage tracking website, indicated that a significant number of people experienced problems accessing Twitter. In the UK, 5,126 individuals reported issues, while roughly 7,461 people in the US encountered glitches at the same time.
Initially, Elon Musk announced reading limits for Twitter users: verified accounts had a daily limit of 6,000 posts, unverified accounts were limited to 600 posts, and new unverified accounts were restricted to 300 posts.