Elon Musk Implements Twitter Limits to Tackle Data Scraping, but Faces Criticism for Technical Misunderstanding
Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, made an announcement on Saturday stating that users of the platform would be restricted to viewing a maximum of 6,000 posts per day. Musk claimed that this measure aimed to combat "data scraping and system manipulation." However, critics argue that limiting genuine users is an ineffective approach to block data miners and bots, highlighting a lack of technical understanding behind the move.
Musk's announcement came shortly after Twitter users worldwide experienced difficulties viewing their timelines or reading comments under tweets. In a tweet, Musk explained that temporary limits would be implemented, with verified accounts restricted to reading 6,000 posts per day, unverified accounts limited to 600 posts per day, and new unverified accounts allowed only 300 posts per day.
However, Musk later updated the limits to 8,000, 800, and 400 respectively, without specifying the duration of these "temporary" restrictions.
Since Musk's acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion in October, he has repeatedly expressed a desire to address non-human use of the platform, particularly by data-mining companies. As of Friday, Twitter has been made inaccessible to non-account holders due to aggressive data scraping that significantly impacted the user experience, according to Musk.
Concurrently, Musk has been promoting account verification, which comes at a cost of $8 per month. However, the prospect of increased tweet limits has not been well-received by users. In the United States, hashtags such as "#RIPTwitter" and "Goodbye Twitter" began trending in response to the changes.
Prominent American whistleblower Edward Snowden highlighted his inability to effectively use Twitter due to security concerns, as he often browses the platform without logging in. Other users, particularly those relying on Twitter for real-time updates on events like the conflict in Ukraine, expressed frustration that even verified accounts could exhaust their allocated tweet limits within a matter of hours.
Critics argue that Musk's limited understanding of web programming and the technical aspects of Twitter's infrastructure is evident in this move. The lack of expertise within his technical team is also called into question. Nevertheless, as Twitter is Musk's own platform, he seemingly has the luxury of making mistakes without significant consequences.
It remains uncertain whether Musk will maintain the newly implemented restrictions. Following his acquisition of Twitter, Musk acknowledged that he would likely make "lots of dumb things" in his efforts to overhaul the platform. He expressed a willingness to retain what works and modify what doesn't based on user feedback and experience.