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Twitter puts limit on number of tweets users can read amid technical snag

Twitter CEO Elon Musk

Twitter is limiting the number of tweets per day various accounts can read, to discourage “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation, Executive Chair Elon Musk said in a post on the social media platform on Saturday.

In a tweet, Musk detailed the revised usage quotas. Verified account holders can read a maximum of 6,000 posts daily, while unverified users must contend with a drastically reduced limit of 600 posts.

(He has since increased the limit to 10,000, 1,000 and 500.)

Musk said that Twitter is wrestling with “extreme levels of data scraping” from “several hundred organizations” and “system manipulation.” These new constraints, he says, are an essential measure to curb these pressing issues. Musk did not say who was scraping Twitter’s data — or how long the issue had persisted — nor did he elaborate on the system manipulation claim.

According to technical experts, however, Twitter appears to be fighting a flaw within its own system. A bug in Twitter’s web app is sending requests to Twitter in an infinite loop.

The curb follows tens of thousands of users complaining on Saturday that Twitter was not populating their feeds with newer tweets. Instead, users were greeted with the “rate limit exceeded” error.

The problem has occurred at a time when social media giant Meta, the owner of Facebook,  is reportedly preparing to launch its own Twitter rival.

Twitter had announced it will require users to have an account on the social media platform to view tweets, a move that Elon Musk on Friday called a “temporary emergency measure.”

Elon Musk had earlier criticised artificial intelligence firms like OpenAI, that launched ChatGPT, for using Twitter’s data to train their large language models.

The micro blogging social media platform had previously taken a number of steps to win back advertisers who left Twitter under Musk’s ownership and to boost subscription revenue by making verification check marks a part of the Twitter Blue program.