Well he finally did it. Elon Musk broke Twitter so badly that it might as well be offline by this point.
On Saturday afternoon, Musk announced that the number of tweet views was suddenly limited to the following values:
The move, he says, was his latest attempt to prevent the site from being “scraped” by AI compilers and “system manipulation,” whatever that means. 600 tweet views for non-Blue payers is roughly the equivalent of a handful of scrolls throughout the day. I went through my quota for about 45 minutes, trying to keep track of the reactions to this absurd move in every corner of the site. After that, you’ll get a “Rate Limit” message and you won’t be able to see any new tweets. The cap has since been raised to 1,000/10,000, but that’s still hardly anything for non-Blue users. Somehow, this technical disaster was used to further boost Twitter Blue subscriptions in a way only Musk would be able to do.
While Musk first said it was meant for scraping, he’s now cracking jokes about how he shut down the site to get people to quit their Twitter addiction and get outside (a joke he of course heard from stole from the other 5 million people who created it). ). And he laughs that his tweet announcing the policy has now broken view records on the site. But anyone with technical knowledge thinks this has little to do with scraping or bot prevention or anything they actually say.
There are two main theories as to what is going on here. For one thing, there’s a possibility that Elon’s big move before, the new inability to view Twitter when not logged in, has triggered some sort of tech spiral where Twitter is now effectively DDOSing itself based on how these changes were made. The constraint has nothing to do with scraping, but rather with trying to keep the site together while fixing this issue.
The second theory has to do with Musk’s refusal to pay his bills to vendors like Amazon or Google, which provide essential services to Twitter, in order to cut costs. These issues are suspiciously consistent with previous reports in this area, although follow-up research suggests that Musk ended up paying the Google bill, at the very least. Apparently the more likely option is the former, where changing the display when the device is logged off messes things up a lot.
Of course not all does not believe Musk’s reasoning. Of course, amidst all of his posts is an army of Twitter blue checks saying things like “Great move sir, thanks for making the site better!” Seemingly totally detached from the reality that it’s barely there now is functional. When I found tweets to quote here, I worried that I would probably run out of views before I even found them. Just a really ridiculous situation for a site built on constant engagement and endless scrolling. This has also raised questions about Twitter’s remaining advertisers, as they now have severely limited reach as a result of this change.
It remains to be seen how long this “temporary” move will last. Current workarounds are bizarre, such as emailing individual tweets that can still be opened, or the only place you can see replies to your own tweets while rate capping, in your mentions and not directly below the tweet itself (if you click “Max” you will… you can’t even see your own tweets on your profile.
Everyone on the site is begging for invites to Bluesky, the up-and-coming Twitter rival who… has now paused signups because too many have been coming in. I’ve been with Bluesky for a while and unfortunately can’t share that not very well. It’s a messier version of Twitter where you start your following from scratch and probably 95% of the people you currently follow aren’t on it yet. Its biggest advantage was that it wasn’t broken (which it actually is now) and it wasn’t led by Elon Musk.
This is easily the worst thing Musk has done since taking over the site, and his most obvious cover is to protect the site from evil AI scrapers. If that’s true, it’s basically like burning down your house to kill some mosquitoes.
This can’t stay like this forever or the site is dead. It may take a while for things to get back to normal, but until then, as Musk says, I guess we can get outside.
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