Twitter Implements Temporary Limits To Combat Data Scraping

As a way to safeguard user privacy and combat data scraping, Twitter is imposing temporary limits on the number of tweets users can read per day. The decision comes as a response to the increasing prevalence of computer programs that extract valuable data from the platform.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk took to the platform himself on Saturday to share the news, expressing his concern over the “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation” that have been plaguing the platform.

The limits, which gradually increased throughout the day, are tailored to users’ subscription status and their time spent on the platform. Initially, verified accounts were capped at reading 6,000 posts per day, while unverified accounts were limited to 600 posts. New verified accounts faced a starting limit of 300 posts per day.

However, later in the day, Musk tweeted again, announcing an increase in the rate limits. Verified accounts would now be able to read up to 8,000 posts daily, unverified accounts would have a limit of 800 posts and new unverified accounts would be allowed to read 400 posts each day.

Musk later pushed the limits higher as he announced yet another increase to 10,000 posts for verified accounts, 1,000 posts for unverified accounts and 500 posts for new unverified accounts.

Despite Twitter’s intentions to curb data scraping, his announcement received mixed reactions from users. 

Many individuals shared screenshots of their Twitter homepages, showing the message “rate limit exceeded,” which restricted their ability to view tweet replies and posts on their home feed. 

Users vented their dissatisfaction with phrases and hashtags like “#GoodbyeTwitter,” “Twitter down,” “wtf Twitter” and “rate limit exceeded” trending throughout the day. By evening, the hashtag #RIPTwitter had gained significant traction, accumulating over 27,000 tweets.

This recent development follows Musk’s announcement on Friday that tweets would no longer be viewable without logging into an account. This change was implemented temporarily to deter third parties from extracting data from the platform. 

In a tweet, the Tesla and SpaceX boss pointed to the “extreme levels of data scraping” carried out by artificial intelligence companies, which he also highlighted as a motivation for imposing the reading limits. Data scraping has become a prevalent practice for chatbots and AI models like ChatGPT, relying heavily on information obtained from the internet.

As of now, it remains unclear how long these reading limits will be in effect or what conditions would prompt their removal. Musk’s tweets also did not elaborate on how this change would impact Twitter features such as the audio conversation platform Spaces.

Only time will tell if these limitations will effectively combat the issues of data scraping and manipulation on the platform, or if further measures will be necessary to safeguard the integrity of Twitter’s user experience.

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