Twitter has placed temporary restrictions on the number of tweets, or posts, users can look at each day. The company also established a new rule requiring people to have a Twitter account in order to read tweets on the messaging service.
Company chief Elon Musk noted the recent changes in a series of tweets. He explained the restrictions were an attempt to cut down on “scraping,” in which businesses take huge amounts of publicly available data from large online sites.
Musk said the temporary limits aim to fight “extreme levels” of scraping and other data collection that can affect Twitter’s system performance.
The Twitter chief announced the changes July first. He said Twitter users who pay for a “verified” account were limited to reading 6,000 tweets per day. Users with unverified accounts were limited to 600 tweets per day, while new unverified accounts could read 300 per day.
A few days earlier, Musk had announced the rule requiring users to have a Twitter account to look at tweets. He described that move as a “temporary emergency measure.” Musk said third-party data-collection activity was so severe it was “degrading service for normal users.”
In the past, Musk has heavily criticized artificial intelligence (AI) companies for using publicly available information on the Twitter service to collect data for their businesses. Musk even tweeted a promise to “take legal action against those who stole our data & look forward (to) seeing them in court.”
After the Twitter policy faced wide criticism online, Musk later announced higher limits. He said verified accounts could read 10,000 tweets and unverified accounts could see 1,000. Users with new unverified accounts can now read 500 tweets daily.
Neither Twitter nor Musk answered requests for comment on the changes from reporters from the Associated Press and Reuters.
Musk is also chief of electric carmaker Tesla and space company SpaceX.
The restrictions are the latest in a series of changes made by Musk since he bought Twitter for $44 billion last year. He also dismissed about 75 percent of the company’s workforce soon after taking control. He said the move was necessary to make Twitter more effective and increase profits.
When first announced, the changes caused up to 7,500 people to report problems using Twitter, the website Downdetector said. That is a relatively small number considering the messaging service has more than 200 million users worldwide. But the changes did result in the #TwitterDown showing up on social media in some parts of the world.
The higher limit for verified accounts is part of an $8-per-month subscription service Musk launched earlier this year. Musk also sought to remove bans from some kinds of content that had been restricted on Twitter. He said he was acting to protect the free speech of users. However, some advertisers reduced their business with Twitter following the policy changes. That meant a loss in earnings for the social media site.
The latest changes at Twitter came as Facebook owner Meta prepares to launch a new service that appears to be positioned to directly compete with Twitter. That service, called Threads, is expected to begin service on Thursday.
A listing for Threads has appeared on Apple’s App Store. The listing describes the service as a “text-based conversation app” that is linked to Meta-owned Instagram. Users of Instagram will be able to keep their user names and follow the same accounts on Threads, the App Store listing suggested. Meta did not answer requests for comment about the new service.
Matt Navarra is a technology industry expert and advisor to social media companies. He told The Associated Press he thinks the new Meta product is launching at the right time – when many Twitter users are not happy with Musk’s continuing changes.
Navarra said Threads presents the chance for Twitter users “to jump to a platform that can give (users) many of the things that they want Twitter to continue to be,” but that it no longer is.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Words in This Story
verify – v. to prove that something is true
degrade – v. to damage the quality or condition of something
subscription – n. an agreement you make with a company to get a publication or service regularly and that you usually pay for in advance
conversation – n. the act of speaking to another person
platform – n. a company or service that permits someone to tell a large number of people about ideas or products