Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, has announced new “temporary” limitations on the number of posts users can read on the platform. Musk claims that these limitations are necessary due to AI companies scraping massive amounts of data. Unverified accounts will now only be able to view 600 posts per day, while new unverified accounts are limited to 300 posts per day. Verified accounts, including those obtained through Twitter Blue subscription or granted by an organization, are still restricted to a maximum of 6,000 posts per day. However, Musk has indicated that these limits will soon increase, allowing verified users to read up to 8,000 tweets, unverified users to access 800 tweets, and new unverified accounts to see 400 tweets per day.
Twitter’s Monetization Efforts and CEO Replacement
This move by Musk comes shortly after Twitter began blocking access for non-logged-in users. He explained that this action was necessary due to aggressive data scraping by several hundred organizations, which was negatively impacting the user experience. Musk’s decision to monetize Twitter has been evident in recent months. In March, the company announced a three-tier API change, where users would be charged for using the API. Additionally, Twitter introduced the Twitter Blue pay-for-verification scheme at a cost of $8 per month. Musk has also appointed Linda Yaccarino, a former ad executive from NBC Universal, as the new CEO of Twitter. Yaccarino’s primary responsibility is to rebuild relationships with advertisers who reduced their spending on the platform.
The Impact of Limiting Access and Musk’s View on Twitter
As a private company, Twitter’s financial situation remains relatively opaque. However, the hiring of Yaccarino emphasizes the significance of advertising revenue to the business. Restricting access to the platform directly contradicts the aim of providing opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audience. Musk’s focus on Twitter as a monopoly may be clouding his perspective on the importance of maintaining a user-friendly experience and enabling advertisers to showcase their ads effectively.
In response to Musk’s announcement, popular YouTube personality MrBeast expressed his curiosity about how long it would take him to view 6,000 posts. Musk replied, estimating that it should take less than 1 hour and 9 minutes. While Musk blames AI companies for data ingestion for training large language models (LLMs), such as those powering ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing, and Google Bard, he fails to mention the significant layoffs that occurred under his leadership. These layoffs included critical staff responsible for maintaining Twitter’s infrastructure. The hasty dismissals even led to the rehiring of some engineers, and concerns have been raised about the impact on Twitter’s stability due to the substantial reduction in workforce and unpaid bills.
Elon Musk’s decision to impose temporary post limits on Twitter is driven by concerns about data scraping by AI companies. However, this move contradicts the goal of providing a user-friendly experience and maximizing advertising revenue. Twitter’s monetization efforts, including the introduction of paid verification and API charges, reflect Musk’s attempts to generate revenue for the platform. The appointment of a new CEO highlights the importance of rebuilding relationships with advertisers. Nevertheless, the layoffs and unpaid bills under Musk’s leadership have raised concerns about Twitter’s stability. Musk’s focus on AI data ingestion may overshadow the potential negative consequences of limiting access to the platform.