Twitter is facing backlash from users as Elon Musk announced a new temporary limit on viewable posts, in an ongoing battle to protect its data from AI brands online. Musk initially tweeted that the site (which reportedly has close to 450 million active users worldwide) will be limiting unverified accounts to access 600 posts a day, with verified accounts being able to view up to 6,000 posts daily. However, by the same afternoon, this number had varied twice: shifting from 800 (unverified) and 8,000 (verified) posts respectively – and by Sunday morning, to 1,000 and 10,000 posts each – with an additional 500 posts for new unverified accounts.
Musk was forced to make an announcement following confusion from thousands of Twitter users, who expressed they were suddenly unable to access posts and received prompts to alert them to the new limit, causing hashtags including #TwitterDown, #RIPTwitter and #RateLimitExceeded to trend over Saturday. Musk has been vocal about his reasoning for placing barriers for access onto the social media site, citing that “several hundred organisations (maybe more) were scraping Twitter data extremely aggressively” in a bid to better decode large language models, (such as those behind Chat GPT) and negatively “affecting the real user experience.”
This latest wave of change comes amidst a number of existing shake-ups at the social media giant, following the instatement of former NBC Universal executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO. The company revealed amendments to its API rules in February of this year, with a revamped three-tier system varying from free to basic to enterprise. The new arrangement offers users 1,500 tweets per month at no cost at the lowest level, to commercial-level enterprise plans costing as much as $42,000 per month, including managed services. As of December 2022, users can also purchase a blue verification tick mark on the site again, with Twitter Blue made available for those with a verified phone number. The subscription costs between $8 to $11 (depending on your mobile operating system) for regular users, and $1,000 a month for verified organisations.
It remains to be seen if these changes will positively impact Twitter revenues after their US advertising sales reportedly fell 59% between April to May, down to $88 million. Musk has not confirmed how long the limits for Twitter’s post viewability will stay in place.