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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Rate limit exceeded’: Elon Musk sets new daily Twitter limits for users

SpaceX, Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends an event during the Vivatech technology startups and innovation fair at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, on June 16.  (Tribune News Service)
Tamia Fowlkes and Julian Mark Washington Post

Elon Musk announced Saturday that Twitter will temporarily limit the number of tweets users can read per day - with separate limits for paid and unpaid users - to combat computer programs that comb through posts to extract useful data from the platform.

It’s unclear how long the limits will last, and what lifting them will depend on. Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

Under the new limits, verified accounts will be limited to reading 6,000 posts per day while unverified accounts will have access to 600 per day, Musk tweeted. New unverified users, who join the platform after Saturday’s announcement, can only access 300 posts per day.

On Friday, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO in a tweet expressed dismay at what he characterized as “extreme levels of data scaping” by artificial intelligence companies. He again cited data scraping on Saturday as a reason for imposing the limit. Chatbots like ChatGPT rely on troves of data, mostly scraped from the internet.

About an hour after Musk announced the limits, he tweeted again that the rates will “soon” increase to 8,000 for verified accounts, 800 for unverified accounts and 400 for new unverified accounts.

Musk’s post did not describe how the change will impact Twitter features like their audio conversation platform, Spaces. However, following Musk’s post, many users began sharing screenshots of their Twitter homepages with the message “rate limit exceeded,” curbing their ability to view tweet replies or posts on their home feed.

The website Downdetector indicated that user reports of Twitter malfunctions spiked at 8 a.m. Eastern on Saturday and have continued throughout the day.

The restrictions represent the latest drastic change by Musk, who headed up the social media company after purchasing it in October for $44 billion. Since taking over, Musk restored many previously banned accounts, including that of former president Donald Trump, and has stripped verification marks from public figures and instead offered the blue check marks to anyone willing to pay $8 a month.

Advertisers have fled in droves, raising questions about how the company will make money. Amid what observers have characterized as a chaotic tenure, Musk in May appointed Linda Yaccarino, formerly NBCUniversal’s chairman of global advertising and partnerships, as Twitter’s CEO.

Twitter’s changing user experience and frequent glitches have led to some users jumping to similar social media sites such as Mastodon and Bluesky. Meta has also reportedly proposed introducing its own Twitter clone.

Bluesky, a platform backed by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, bears a similar resemblance to its predecessor. The company said in a post on their platform Saturday afternoon that they were experiencing record high traffic after Musk’s announcement. The app, described as a decentralized social network, is currently invite-only but has been described as a potential alternative to Twitter.