Elon Musk said on Saturday that Twitter will temporarily limit the number of posts users can read per day to address concerns about data scraping, just hours after thousands of users reported widespread problems using the site.
Many of those users reported receiving an error message saying they had “exceeded” their “frequency limit,” suggesting that they had violated Twitter’s rules and downloaded and viewed too many tweets.
Mr. Musk, who saying on Friday that “several hundred organizations” were taking Twitter data in a process called scraping and that it was “affecting the actual user experience,” he did not say how long the limits would last or what might prompt him to lift the restriction.
It originally said that verified accounts would be limited to reading 6,000 posts per day, unverified accounts to 600 posts, and new unverified accounts to 300 posts.
About two hours later, he raised those limits to 8,000 for verified, 800 for unverified, and 400 for new unverified, before raising them again late Saturday to 10,000, 1,000, and 500.
“Limited rate due to reading all rate cap posts”, Mr. Musk saying On twitter.
The billionaire has expressed his distaste for organizations that scrape Twitter and use tweets for research or to train artificial intelligence programs.
But Saturday’s change caused frustration on the platform among some users, with many wondering why their online activity would drop so drastically.
The phrase “exceeded rate cap” trended on Twitter, spawning memes on the site about people who made the new policy uncomfortable. Downdetector, a website that tracks crash reports on various websites, showed that user reports of problems on Twitter increased on Saturday.
Other users had more pragmatic concerns, including how the daily limits could affect how people monitor severe weather on the platform, which often involves scrolling through dozens of updates, alerts and warnings.
“This Twitter change today is a total fire in the dumpster,” James Spann, a meteorologist in Alabama, saying On twitter. “Unless something changes, this platform is now pretty much useless for those of us at the weather company.”
An email to Twitter’s communications department seeking comment was returned with a poop emoji.
Since Musk’s October takeover and his moves to remove more than 75 percent of the company’s workforce, Twitter has become less stable, with features or the entire site sometimes crashing without explanation.
On Saturday, the company’s engineers rushed to diagnose the issue on private Slack channels, according to two employees. Those people said that Twitter marketers asked what they should tell their ad clients when they noticed that some ads weren’t showing on the social network.
Twitter’s US ad revenue for the five weeks from April 1 through the first week of May was $88 million, down 59 percent from a year earlier, according to an internal presentation obtained by The New York Times.
The company has regularly been below its weekly US sales projections, sometimes by as much as 30 percent, according to the document.
The frenetic changes on Twitter have continued to motivate some users to try other similar social networking sites, such as Mastodon, which claims to be a “viable alternative to Twitter,” and Bluesky, a social network that offers many of the same basic features as Twitter. it does.
Bluesky is currently invite-only, but on Saturday the company’s name was trending on Twitter.
One Twitter user seemed to have had enough on Saturday, writing: “I need a Bluesky code bro.”