Elon Musk on Saturday announced temporary tweet-viewing rate limits restricting how many posts un-verified Twitter users can see, blaming “extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation” for the limited functionality — but the site’s former head of trust and safety says that argument “doesn’t pass the sniff test.”
“To address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation, we’ve applied the following temporary limits,” Musk announced on Twitter in the first of a series of tweets about the decision.
Throughout the day, Musk continued posting about the rate limits, increasing the number of posts users could view each time. The verified accounts for paid users were initially limited to reading 6,000 posts per day, with existing unverified accounts limited to reading 600 posts per day and new unverified accounts only 300 per day. Later, per Musk’s tweets, those numbers increased to 10k, 1k, and 0.5k, respectively.
The new rate limits have severely affected the indexing and display of tweets on Google’s search engine. As per a recent report from Search Engine Land, Google Search has witnessed a drop of more than half of the indexed URLs from Twitter in recent days, resulting in a significant limitation of reach for the shared information. On July 3, the number of tweets indexed by Google plummeted by over 60%, going from 471 million to a mere 180 million, as reported by Search Engine Land.
“It seems that Google now has about 52% fewer Twitter URLs in its index today than it had on Friday, just a few days later,” the report said. This rate limit has led to diminishing the visibility of cryptos on Google. The sporadic changes contributed to a sense of unease around the restrictions. They made Twitter users sceptical about the reasoning behind the rate limit if it would be removed the same day it was implemented.
“It just doesn’t pass the sniff test that scraping all of a sudden created such dramatic performance problems that Twitter had no choice but to put everything behind a login,” Yoel Roth wrote in a thread about the Twitter outage on Bluesky social, a rival app still in beta testing that on Saturday prohibited anyone making new accounts due to the volume of users migrating from Twitter.
Twitter has become the primary platform for crypto discussion on the internet, and internal data from the company reveals just how many people are joining the conversation. This change could have far-reaching consequences for the cryptocurrency market. As one of the social media platforms where crypto discussion thrives, the update could lead to restrictions on information dissemination. Also, it could affect the functionality of crypto-related projects. Typically, several projects use the platform as the fastest information tool for their communities. Although most of the projects are subscribed to the Blue version, the inability of thousands to millions of the crypto community to view information might mean it is done in futility.
It is important to note that Twitter is not biased against crypto, it is establishing a fairground to develop the crypto sphere. As per an internal document of Twitter, over 1 billion tweets about crypto since 2020, with 299 million of them being tweets made this past year alone.
The most retweeted tweets in that time include this Bitcoin giveaway from YouTuber Mr Beast; this Super Bowl ad from crypto exchange FTX; this Christmas Ethereum giveaway from notwoways founder Callux; this Dogecoin rallying call from Dogecoin Rise; and this tweet from Elon Musk allowing buyers to pay for Teslas with Bitcoin.
Since 2020, the top crypto co-mentioned topics include business and finance, investing, NFTs, Bitcoin, Ethereum, cryptocurrency exchanges, the digital asset industry, Binance Coin, Dogecoin and tech personalities. From 2020 to 2021, there were about six times more tweets about crypto than ever before, a testament to its recent mainstream boom.