Twitter is limiting how many tweets various accounts can read per day, owner Elon Musk has said, in a bid to discourage “extreme levels” of data scraping and system manipulation.
The restrictions, announced on Friday, began to have ripple effects early on Saturday, causing more than 7,500 people at one point to report problems using the social media service, according to Downdetector, a website that tracks online outages.
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Although that’s a relatively small number of Twitter’s more than 200 million worldwide users, the trouble was widespread enough to cause the #TwitterDown hashtag to trend in some parts of the world.
Musk, who bought Twitter for $44bn last year, initially said verified accounts will be limited to reading 6,000 posts a day, while unverified accounts will be limited to 600 posts a day.
New unverified accounts are limited to 300 posts a day, he said.
Musk later increased the temporary reading limitation to 10,000 posts per day for verified users, 1,000 posts per day for unverified and 500 posts per day for new unverified users.
He did not provide additional details.
The restrictions could result in users being locked out of Twitter for the day after scrolling through several hundred tweets.
In a tweet on Friday, Musk described the new restrictions as a temporary measure taken because “we were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!”
He had earlier expressed displeasure with artificial intelligence firms like OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, for using Twitter’s data to train their large language models.
The higher threshold allowed on verified accounts is part of an $8 per month subscription service that Musk rolled out earlier this year in an effort to boost Twitter revenue that has fallen sharply since he took over the company and laid off roughly three-fourths of the workforce to cuts costs and stave off bankruptcy.
Advertisers have since curbed their spending on Twitter, partly because of changes that have allowed more hateful and prickly content that offends a wider part of the service’s audience.
Musk recently hired longtime NBC Universal executive Linda Yaccarino to become Twitter’s CEO in an effort to win back advertisers.