Twitter's ongoing confusion over Elon Musk's tweet restrictions

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After owner Elon Musk introduced restrictions on how many posts users can read in a day, confusion at Twitter seems to be persisting.

The billionaire made the "temporary measure" announcement to address the site's extreme levels of data scraping.

Mr. Musk quickly raised the initial limits over the weekend.

On Sunday, many users claimed to not be seeing any limits; however, some users claimed that on Monday, a "rate limit exceeded" notification had returned.

Mr. Musk, who assumed control of Twitter in October 2022, previously expressed his displeasure with AI companies using Twitter's data to train their sophisticated language models.

According to Mr. Musk, the platform's initial 600-tweet limit for users who are not verified on Twitter and who do not have a subscription to the service was increased to 1,000 on Saturday night.

On whether the limits will remain in place, he has not yet given an update.

In response to a user who reported problems with the website's features, Mr. Musk said in a tweet sent out early on Saturday that Twitter had implemented the measures due to "EXTREME levels of data scraping.".

The process, which involves extracting data from websites—often in large quantities—in order to make it readable and accessible in local formats, like a spreadsheet, is a key technique for gathering content and information from web platforms.

From start-ups to some of the largest corporations on Earth, "almost every company doing AI was scraping vast amounts of data," Mr. Musk continued in his tweet.

It is rather infuriating to have to urgently bring many servers online in order to support some AI startup's outrageous valuation. ".

Reddit's decision to charge businesses for access to its data was partially motivated by similar worries about the widespread use of platform data to train AI models.

Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, a data scientist and former employee of Twitter, told the BBC that it was unclear whether AI organizations had been scraping data from Twitter but speculated that financial concerns might be to blame for the changes.

"Honestly, I think I agree with the majority of people who think that his failure to pay his bills is to blame. and he's making an effort to cut costs," she said.

According to court documents, an Australian project management company has sued Twitter in a US court, seeking cumulative payments of about A$1 million (£534,000), for allegedly failing to pay bills for work completed in four different nations.

Innisfree Mandamp;A Inc., a US-based advisory firm, sued Twitter earlier this year, seeking approximately $1.9m (£1.4m) for what it claimed were unpaid bills after it advised Twitter on its acquisition by Mr. Musk. In May, a former public relations firm filed a lawsuit in a New York court alleging that Twitter had not paid its bills.

Since Mr. Musk acquired Twitter, he has concentrated on cutting costs by firing half the staff and launching the subscription service, which charges a monthly fee in exchange for the coveted "verified" badge.

Limiting posts seems to work against engagement on a platform that demands it. According to Dr. Chowdhury, it is a "very extreme and unprecedented tactic" that "is already failing.".

Because of concerns about Mr. Musk's handling of the content moderation guidelines, Twitter's revenue was negatively impacted.

In an interview with the BBC in April, Mr. Musk claimed that the business was "roughly breaking even" and that the majority of its advertisers were coming back.

Some journalists who use Twitter to gather information for live reporting and story verification were met with restrictions due to the tweet limit.

The Independent's chief international correspondent, Bel Trew, tweeted that the platform's restrictions on the number of tweets she could read during her reporting on Sunday had left her at a "complete loss.".

After a shooting that left two people dead and another 28 hurt, a reporter in the US city of Baltimore was unable to access tweets from the local police department's Twitter account.

People who received "rate limit exceeded" notifications discovered that they applied to all accounts, including those that tweeted emergency information, weather alerts, and natural disaster updates in real time.

In response to the BBC's request for clarification on Twitter, an automated message with a poo emoji was sent.

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