Everything Continues to Be Going Just Great at Twitter

Ivan Mehta, reporting for TechCrunch:

Over the weekend, Elon Musk limited the number of tweets users can read in a day, which he said was to prevent data scraping. While this measure has affected all Twitter users, TweetDeck users in particular are today reporting major problems, including notifications and entire columns failing to load.

Musk initially enforced read-limits of 6,000 daily posts for verified users and 600 daily posts for unverified users. Hours later, he increased these limits to 10,000 tweets and 1,000 tweets, respectively. Given that TweetDeck loads up multiple tweets through various columns simultaneously, it’s likely that the effects of the read restrictions are amplified within TweetDeck.

Needless to say it’s rather nutty that a business whose primary revenue stream is advertising would institute rate limits at all, let alone severe limits that typical users bump up against in about 20 minutes of browsing. Musk’s thinking, one presumes, is that this is the masterstroke that will prompt people to sign up for Twitter Blue at $8-11/month.

The bigger, more fundamental change Musk instituted over the weekend is making it such that tweets aren’t visible unless you’re logged in to a Twitter account. This broke all sorts of things. Messaging apps (like Apple’s Messages) can no longer render preview cards for tweets, for one thing. Closer to home, it broke the @daringfireball auto-posting account. More amusingly, as documented by Sheldon Chang, this change completely broke Twitter itself — some part of the Rube Goldberg-ian machine that assembles users’ timeline feeds was itself subjected to these rate limits, so Twitter wound up DDOSing itself. It’s like a gasoline company instituting rations that stranded its own fleet of tanker trucks.

From its inception through this weekend, Twitter has been like blogging, insofar as tweets being public. You visit the URL for a tweet, you see the tweet. Now it’s a walled garden, like most of Facebook, available only to logged-in users. I suspect this change will prevent the Internet Archive from caching tweets, too. That just sucks.

Monday, 3 July 2023