Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and Twitter, recently announced rate limits on viewing tweets, citing data scraping as the reason behind the decision. However, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety expressed doubts about the rationale. This incident isn’t the first time someone has disrupted the site by tinkering with the rate limiter.
In a series of tweets, Elon Musk explained that the temporary tweet-viewing rate limits were necessary to combat “extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation.” Throughout the day, he gradually increased the number of posts users could view.
Initially, verified accounts for paid users were restricted to reading 6,000 posts per day, while existing unverified accounts were limited to 600 posts per day and new unverified accounts to 300 per day. However, by the afternoon, these limits were raised to 10,000, 1,000, and 500 posts, respectively.
When users reached the new viewing limits, they were met with notifications displaying error messages. This led to speculation and skepticism among Twitter users about the reasoning behind the rate limits and whether they would be removed shortly after implementation.
Yoel Roth, who worked on user trust and site integrity teams at Twitter, expressed doubts about the sudden performance problems attributed to data scraping. Roth stated that scraping was an open secret and seemed unconvinced that it was the cause of Twitter’s dramatic limitations.
The incident also coincides with Twitter negotiating with Google over cloud storage services. It was reported that Musk initially refused to make payments towards Twitter’s existing $1 billion contract with Google. However, negotiations for the future of the partnership are still ongoing.
While Twitter users speculated that the restrictions were linked to Twitter’s failure to pay for Google cloud services, no specific cause has been verified.
In conclusion, Elon Musk’s implementation of strict rate limits on viewing tweets was in response to concerns about data scraping and system manipulation. However, doubts have been raised about the reasoning behind these limitations, and this incident isn’t the first time someone has disrupted Twitter by tampering with the rate limiter.
|Time||Verified Accounts||Existing Unverified Accounts||New Unverified Accounts|
|3 p.m. (changes)||10,000||1,000||500|