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Elon Musk posts a paywall on Twitter




Elon Musk continues to blame Twitter’s new restrictions on AI companies scraping “vast amounts of data” as he announced new “temporary” limits on how many posts people can read.

Now unverified accounts will only be able to see 600 posts per day, and for “new” unverified accounts, only 300 in a day. The limits on verified accounts (presumably either purchased as part of the Twitter Blue subscription, provided through an organization, or verification Elon imposed on people like Stephen King, LeBron James and anyone else with more than a million followers) allow reading a maximum of 6,000 posts per day.

Shortly after that, Musk tweeted that the rate limits will “soon” increase to 8,000 tweets for verified users, 800 for unverified and 400 for new unverified accounts.

The restrictions came a day after Twitter suddenly began blocking access for anyone who isn’t logged in, which Musk claimed was necessary because “several hundred organizations (maybe more) were scraping Twitter data extremely aggressively, to the point where it affected the real user experience. “

The change is just one of several ways Musk has tried to monetize Twitter in recent months. The company announced a three-tier API change in March that would begin charging for use of the API, just three months after finally rolling out the revamped $8-per-month Twitter Blue pay-for-verification scheme. Musk has also replaced himself with a new CEO, Linda Yaccarino. The former head of advertising from NBC Universal has been hired to restore relationships with advertisers who have cut their spending on Twitter.

As a private company, we know less about Twitter’s financial situation than we did before Musk’s purchase, but the hiring of Yaccarino reflected how important ad revenue is to the business. Limiting access to the site cuts directly against the goal of creating opportunities to see the ad spaces companies pay for, but Musk’s monopolistic view of Twitter could obscure that.

When YouTube personality MrBeast answeredand said he was going to see how long it takes him to look at 6,000 posts, Musk answered“Should be less than 1 hour and 9 minutes!”

But he did not mention his decision to lay off more than half of Twitter’s employees since he took over the company last fall, including people critical to maintaining its infrastructure. The random layoffs meant the company even had to hire some engineers who had been let go, and people have repeatedly warned that firing so many people would affect Twitter’s stability.

Last November, an unnamed Twitter engineer was interviewed by MIT Technology Review said that after the staff reductions, “things will be broken more often. Things will break for extended periods of time. Things will break in more serious ways… They’ll be small annoyances to start, but as the back-end fixes get delayed, things will pile up until eventually people just give up.” In the same article, site reliability engineer Ben Kreuger said, “I expect to start seeing significant public issues with the technology within six months.” There have been seven.





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