Twitter, under the ownership of Elon Musk since last year’s US$44 billion acquisition, has imposed a temporary limit on the number of tweets users can view per day. This decision has generated significant criticism and potential implications for the platform’s advertising endeavours.

The tweet limit, implemented to combat extensive data scraping and system manipulation, represents the latest modification introduced by Twitter. It aims to address concerns raised since Musk took over the social network.

Twitter owner Elon Musk announces temporary limits on post viewing to tackle data scraping and system manipulation

What does this change entail, and what alternatives are available to Twitter users?

The recent alterations affect users’ ability to view tweets without logging into their accounts. Verified accounts can now access up to 6,000 posts per day, while unverified accounts are limited to 600 posts, and new unverified accounts are restricted to 300 posts. Once the limit is reached, users receive a “rate limit exceeded” message.

Musk has indicated that the limits will be increased in the near future. Verified accounts are set to have a daily limit of 10,000 posts, while unverified accounts will be able to access up to 1,000 posts, and new unverified accounts will have a limit of 500 posts.

What prompted this decision by Musk?

Musk explained that the limitations were necessary to address the widespread data scraping occurring on Twitter, affecting various entities such as AI companies, startups, and tech giants. He expressed frustration in having to allocate substantial server resources on an emergency basis to cater to the data demands of overvalued AI startups.

What are users saying about this change?

Numerous Twitter users have voiced their complaints, resulting in trending hashtags such as “#TwitterDown” and “RIP Twitter” in recent days. These limitations have particularly affected accounts managed by informational agencies, journalists, and monitoring services, which rely on reviewing a large volume of tweets daily.

Exploring alternative platforms

Following the tweet limits, several Twitter-like platforms, including Bluesky and Mastodon, have witnessed a surge in user activity as potential alternatives. These platforms experienced an influx of users shortly after Musk’s announcement.

Bluesky, a platform initiated by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and currently in beta mode, reported “record high traffic” on Saturday, leading to a temporary halt in new sign-ups.

Mastodon, another alternative platform, observed a substantial increase of 110,000 active users on the same day, according to Eugen Rochko, the creator and CEO of Mastodon.

As Twitter’s temporary tweet limits face backlash, the search for alternative platforms gains momentum, raising questions about the future landscape of social media and user engagement.