Twitter applies temporary reading limits amid ongoing problems with platform

Elon Musk has announced viewing limits for Twitter users due to ‘extreme’ data scraping

Matt Drake
Sunday 02 July 2023 00:03 BST
<p>Elon Musk announced viewing limits for Twitter users </p>

Elon Musk announced viewing limits for Twitter users

Twitter has applied temporary reading limits to address “extreme levels” of data scraping and system manipulation, Elon Musk said in a post on the social media platform on Saturday.

Thousands of people complained about being unable to access Twitter on Saturday. It came after Mr Musk declared that verified accounts are now temporarily limited to reading 6,000 posts a day, unverified accounts limited to 600 and new unverified accounts limited to 300.

He then later said that the limits would be increasing soon to 8,000 posts for verified, 800 for unverified and 400 for new unverified.

It comes after Twitter announced on Friday that it will now require users to have an account on the social media platform to view tweets, which Mr Musk described as a “temporary emergency measure”.

Mr Musk tweeted on Saturday: “To address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation, we’ve applied the following temporary limits: Verified accounts are limited to reading 6000 posts/day, Unverified accounts to 600 posts/day, New unverified accounts to 300/day.”

After Mr Musk’s announcement, the hashtag "RIP Twitter" was trending as well as “Twitter Down” and “Space Karen”.

Elon Musk announced the ‘temporary measures’ via his Twitter account

Mr Musk later tweeted: “Rate limited due to reading all the posts about rate limits.”

The issues were first reported around midday on Saturday but there were thousands of reports about the site by 6pm, according to Downdetector. In the UK, a peak of 5,126 people complained of problems accessing Twitter at 4.12pm.

It comes after another outage in February when many users were unable to tweet, follow accounts or access their direct messages after the platform was plagued by widespread technical problems.

The founder and chief engineer of SpaceX previously expressed concern about artificial intelligence firms such as ChatGPT using Twitter's data to train their language models, The Guardian reported.

Mr Musk took over Twitter in October after buying it for 44 billion dollars (£35.5 billion).

After taking over, he laid off some 80 per cent of its 8,000 global staff. He later admitted it resulted in the platform losing a large amount of its functionality.

He also oversaw the scrapping of legacy “blue ticks”, which verified a user’s identity and were replaced by a paid-for subscription called Twitter Blue.

High-profile figures and celebrities said the move leaves the platform open to imposters and disinformation.

Users who pay £9.60 a month, or £115.20 annually, receive the blue tick and can make longer tweets up to 10,000 characters.

Other select features available only to subscribers include non-fungible token (NFT) profile pictures, making changes to published tweets and seeing around 50 per cent fewer ads.

In December, just weeks after the takeover, Mr Musk tweeted: “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job.”

The pledge came after millions of Twitter users asked him to step down in a poll Mr Musk created and promised to abide by.

In May, Mr Musk confirmed that advertising executive Linda Yaccarino, formerly of NBCUniversal, was replacing him as Twitter’s chief executive.

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