Twitter requires users to sign in or create an account to view tweets in what owner Elon Musk calls ‘temporary’ move to block data scrapers
Twitter has begun requiring users to sign into the service or create an account before being allowed to view messages, in a move that owner Elon Musk said was “temporary”.
The service also imposed a temporary limit on the number of tweets users can view, with unverified users limited to 1,000 tweets a day. Verified users can view 10,000 tweets a day, Musk said.
He said the limits were put in place to address “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation”.
Starting on Friday, when users visit a link to view a Twitter feed or post, the platform displays a blank page with a message asking them to sign in or to create an account.
Messages embedded in third-party sites continued to be visible, but messages that appeared in online searches required sign-in.
Musk said the move was a “temporary emergency measure” as he tried to stop third-party bots from scraping data from Twitter.
“We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!” he wrote in a tweet.
Musk has previously criticised AI companies such as OpenAI for downloading huge amounts of data from Twitter and other social media platforms for use in training their language models, a sentiment echoed by Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman.
But the shift is a drastic one for the platform, given that it has long relied on traffic from the broader internet to drive interest.
Temporary emergency measure. We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 30, 2023
It is less unusual, however, in the context of Musk’s erratic and unpredictable changes to the site since acquiring it in October.
Developers using the API – which costs $42,000 for access to only 1 percent of tweets – have complained that after more than a decade of stability the tool now frequently breaks, Mashable reported last week.
Reddit also introduced substantial API fees in response to data scraping by AI companies, a move that prompted thousands of subreddits to protest last month by making themselves inaccessible to the broader public, with some still dark as of early July.