Twitter’s new boss has doubled down on the company’s contentious limit on the number of tweets some users can view, despite the move fueling further discontent among its depleting user base.
Over the weekend, visitors to the site started receiving error messages telling them: “rate limit exceeded” or “cannot retrieve tweets.”
Owner Elon Musk explained in a tweet that, temporarily, verified Twitter accounts would be limited to reading 6,000 posts per day, while unverified accounts would have a limit of 600 tweets a day, and new unverified accounts would be limited to 300. He later suggested those numbers would soon be upped to 10,000, 1,000, and 400 respectively.
In a tweet on Tuesday, newly minted Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino defended the platform’s controversial decision, which was met with backlash from users who reported thousands of errors and sent the hashtag #TwitterDown trending.
“When you have a mission like Twitter you need to make big moves to keep strengthening the platform,” Yaccarino wrote. “This work is meaningful and ongoing.”
Her justification of the move came as the company released a statement to update users on its “rate limits.”
“To ensure the authenticity of our user base we must take extreme measures to remove spam and bots from our platform,” the firm said on Tuesday. “That’s why we temporarily limited usage so we could detect and eliminate bots and other bad actors that are harming the platform. Any advance notice on these actions would have allowed bad actors to alter their behavior to evade detection.”
Musk, who purchased Twitter and took it private in a landmark $44 billion deal last year, has long been a vocal critic of how many fake – or bot – accounts are active on the platform.
After his takeover was approved, he attempted to back out of the deal citing concerns that he had been misled about the prevalence of such accounts.
In its statement this week, Twitter said it was working to prevent fake accounts from doing two things: scraping real users’ public data to build A.I. models, and manipulating people and conversation on the platform.
It conceded that these efforts to clamp down on bot accounts were currently affecting a “small percentage” of users, and noted that the effect on advertising had been “minimal.”
“While this work will never be done, we’re all deeply committed to making Twitter a better place for everyone,” the company added. “At times, even for a brief moment, you must slow down to speed up.”
Despite reassurances from Twitter and its chief executive, users continued to slam the company’s latest unpopular move, with some arguing the platform has “never been worse” and others labeling it “why I will leave Twitter.”
Twitter The Company is so awful at communications in the Elon era. This blog says nothing, and came out a day AFTER the Twitter Rate limits.
It’s clear Elon still just does whatever he wants, whenever he wants. https://t.co/L5WM5QGVO6
— Jack Appleby (@jappleby) July 4, 2023
well you failed miserably buddy https://t.co/RZpnzQERGR
— Hurt CoPain (@SaeedDiCaprio) July 4, 2023
Yaccarino, former advertising chief at media giant NBCUniversal, is steering the firm as it seeks to rebuild revenue lost to the site’s advertiser exodus, a result of Twitter facing accusations of becoming a “far-right social network” under Musk’s stewardship.
It isn’t just advertiser who have fled the platform – users of the social network quit the site in droves when Musk took over in protest over the way the site was changing, with new competitors scooping them up.
Recent research also found that Twitter’s top users were posting less in the wake of Musk’s acquisition, while a May study from the Pew Research Center revealed that 60% of U.S. users had “taken a break” from the platform over the past year.
The company is also currently contending with the consequences of four in five workers being lost either through mass layoffs or voluntary resignations, while the site itself has suffered a slew of technical problems.
Meanwhile, management is dealing with a string of internal leaks as well as the ramifications of its owner, the world’s richest person, refusing to pay the company’s bills.