THE saga of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter it was long, tiring and frankly a bit wild: da eliminating the legacy blue checkmarks TO increasing the character limit to 10,000the eccentric billionaire has been shaking things up on the social media platform, and it hasn’t always gone smoothly.
The latest development may be the final nail in the coffin for Twitter, however, as Musk announced on Saturday, July 1, that users would be limited to viewing a set number of posts. Verified users will be able to see 6,000 tweets per day, while unverified users will only receive 600. New unverified accounts will only be able to view 300 posts per day.
To deal with extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation, we have enforced the following temporary limits:- Verified accounts are limited to reading 6000 posts/day- Unverified accounts up to 600 posts/day- New accounts unverified up to 300/dayJuly 1, 2023
Since Musk delivered this news in a tweet (as is traditional at this point), it’s not quite clear what actually constitutes a “view” or a “post” — curiously, Musk didn’t use the word “tweet” at all. . in his announcement.
Answers appear to count towards the limit, but ads may not; and as for what it means to “view” a post, as far as we know, you could scroll through it at lightning speed and Twitter would still consider it viewed. Reach your limit and you will get a blank or a message saying “speed limit exceeded”.
Musk was quick to raise the limits to 10,000 for verified users and 1,000 for unverified users, but the new rules are enough to severely hamper the user experience for anyone unwilling to shell out (from) $8/ £9.60 / AU$13 per month for a Blue Twitter Subscription. Users are already reporting that they’ve hit their limit after a relatively short amount of time spent scrolling through their timelines, and these limits seem to have a much greater impact than the previous tweet limits applied earlier this year.
Why is this happening?
While Musk says the new limits relate to “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation” (whatever that means), it’s possible there is a more direct cause behind the scenes, which could be entirely the Tesla CEO’s fault.
After taking over as CEO, Musk laid off much of Twitter’s workforce and most notably also stopped paying for a number of services used by the social media giant, including (amusingly) the rent for some of its physical offices. A critical bill that has been unpaid for too long was owed to Google for using its cloud hosting services, as reported last month by Insiders.
Twitter relies heavily on Google’s platform, and some claim that the breakup of Musk’s relationship with Google is to blame for Twitter’s current instability, although this hasn’t been officially confirmed and it appears Twitter actually paid off at least part of his debt after that the new CEO Linda Yaccarino took over.
“This is hilarious. Twitter seems to be using DDOS itself.” https://t.co/BM1QKwaW8Z pic.twitter.com/sBPauhS71mJuly 1, 2023
Another potential explanation, as noted by the web developer and Twitter user Sheldon Chang, is that Twitter is essentially DDOS itself. Chang noticed on Saturday that his Twitter feed wasn’t loading properly, but that Twitter kept sending out constant requests for data that never arrived, resulting in constant instability.
Chang speculated that this was due to Musk’s most recent change: forcing users to log in before they can view any content on Twitter. This is an unpopular but not uncommon move for a social media platform; Instagram, for example, typically doesn’t let you view more than one linked post in your phone’s browser before prompting you to open the app. Chang described the situation as “the most epic of his own”.
When will it be fixed?
The short answer here is that we have no idea. Since Musk has massively reduced the size of Twitter’s software engineering team, it’s not entirely clear when exactly Twitter will be able to fix the problem, so these speed limits may remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Limiting the number of posts users can view over a longer period could have serious implications for Twitter’s revenue. The main source of income of the social media site comes from advertisers and those ads must be view for Twitter to really make money. Restricting access to a platform you’re trying to sell ad space on is a bizarre move, even for Musk.
Sadly, this new debacle is just another problem facing the new CEO. There’s always another fire to put out, whatever potential sanctions from regulatory bodies OR rip off third party API developers — the latter of which was a Reddit-ape move, resulting in the recent Reddit blackouts. Why anyone would want to mimic Musk’s comedy routine is, frankly, beyond me.
Where do we go from here?
Trust in Twitter is at an all-time low, and it’s not entirely due to the things Musk has actually done — sometimes, just the promise of some terrible new addition is enough to scare people.
During his short time as CEO, Musk built a reputation for planning but not actually implementing new features, such as disabling TweetDeck for non-paying users or the alleged calling functionality it might have it made the app unusable for women and minorities.
As for what We should be next, well… I’d like to say walk away, but we’ve yet to see a real alternative arrive. Meta has a rival app in the works but it is not yet available and decentralized social network Mastodon has largely failed to capture the hearts and minds of Twitter refugees.
Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky app is a potential competitor, but the platform is currently invite-only; of course, people are already asking for invites on other social media sites. What happens next is anyone’s guess. There is every possibility that Yaccarino could change that on Twitter, but personally I’m not holding my breath, not while Musk still has one hand on the wheel, anyway.
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