Twitter’s trouble seems only to grow. Over the weekend, it imposed new read limits on its users, a move it claims is temporary.
Twitter users now face a new challenge: daily read limits. The social media platform announced on Saturday it was imposing the temporary measure in an effort to fight off “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation,” according to its owner, Elon Musk.
The data scraping seems to be a symptom of artificial intelligence platforms like ChatGPT that scour the service for information for its own databases.
The news came after #TwitterDown began trending and users reported “rate limit exceeded” errors, ABC News reported.
The daily read limits depend on whether you’re a free user or a paid user, which probably surprises no one. Initially, the limits were 600 tweets a day for non-paying members and 6,000 for subscribers to “Twitter Blue.” Those limits have since risen to 1,000 and 10,000 respectively.
Musk described the limits based on whether the accounts were verified or unverified. But of course the way to get your account verified is to subscribe. For new unverified accounts, the limit is even less: just 500 tweets a day.
The long goodbye?
Sometimes I wonder if Twitter isn’t trying to commit a very slow suicide.
I don’t know how easy it would be to read 1,000 tweets in a sitting, but if you spend a bit of time scrolling, it may well be possible to hit the limit over the course of an entire day. Reading 10,000 tweets in a single day strikes me as less of a possibility, unless, of course you have no job and no life outside that platform.
But when and if you manage it, you apparently receive an error message stating, “Rate limit exceeded. Please wait a few moments and try again.” A few moments? If we’re talking about daily read limits, that error message should tell you to try again tomorrow, not after waiting “a few moments.”
If the problem is really because of artificial intelligence bots scanning the site, I have a simple question. Why can’t they just stop that? I mean, if they’re smart enough to have figured out that it’s the AI causing the problem, why can’t they be smart enough to target those bots?
Close Twitter to account holders. I said account holders, not subscribers. To read Twitter, you have to establish an account. Once you log in, you can see. Since they can obviously see how many tweets you read in a day — otherwise they wouldn’t be able to impose these silly limits — then they look for who has the most reads.
It the counts are so high that it almost couldn’t be a human doing it, then cut those accounts off. “Temporarily.”
Leave everyone else alone.
That would make a lot more sense.
I will say that one amusing thing came out of it: Merriam-Webster decided to poke fun at the foolishness with a tweet.
“To address extreme levels of language enthusiasm, we’ve applied the following temporary limits,” it wrote. “Writers, Lyricists, and other Professional Wordsmiths: 6000 definition lookups/day; Thoughtful Readers and Crossword Puzzlers: 600/day; Everyday English Speakers: 300/day.”
Shortly thereafter, it posted a follow-up tweet: “Please disregard the previous tweet. Definition lookups are unlimited. Go nuts.”