Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, announced over the weekend that he would be instituting new measures for a temporary period to try to address manipulation on the platform as well as “extreme levels of data scraping.”
He explained in a tweet:
“To address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation, we’ve applied the following temporary limits: Verified accounts are limited to reading 6000 posts/day, Unverified accounts to 600 posts/day, New unverified accounts to 300/day.”
Twitter has recently forced people to log into a registered account before they’re able to really view any tweets at all on the platform. Those who tried to see any of the content that’s posted to Twitter without having an account and being signed in have been re-directed to a landing page that tells them to either sign into an account they already have or to create a new one.
When people started figuring out that that was happening, they took to Twitter to voice their concerns. One of those people was Tim Sweeney, the CEO and founder of Epic Games, who tweeted:
“The internet feels increasingly broken. News sites are paywalled or account walled, Reddit is nag walled, Google search spams ads and SEO to the point of uselessness, and now Twitter is account walled. Web browsing feels horrible now.”
Musk responded directly to that tweet by writing:
“Several hundred organizations (maybe more) were scraping Twitter data extremely aggressively, to the point where it was affecting the real user experience. What should we do to stop that? I’m open to ideas.”
The two went back-and-forth on suggestions for what Twitter should do, with Musk shooting those ideas down and basically saying that they were doing much of that already.
In other words, Musk apparently has it figured out – or at least knows what he wants to do to stop the scraping temporarily – and doesn’t need anyone else’s input on it.
What these limits are doing is essentially limiting people’s ability to follow reactions to a sports game as it’s happening live, or to see what is happening when there are extreme weather events happening.
Some people have said that this is only going to hurt Twitter, not help it, in the long term. One of those people is Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg, who said recently:
“The joke on Twitter is that people are going to go outside instead, but the reality is that they’re going to go to another app. By sending users elsewhere, Musk is killing the main proposition Twitter has had for advertisers – a highly engaged user base, especially around news and events.”
Mike Proulx, an analyst from Forrester, issued a statement that said these changes are “remarkably bad for Twitter’s users and advertisers.” He said it decimates both the engagement and reach that the platform’s advertisers ultimately rely on.
As he said:
“The advertiser trust deficit that (new Twitter CEO) Linda Yaccarino needs to reverse just got even bigger. And it cannot be reversed back on her industry credibility alone.”