Why is Elon Musk restricting how many tweets you can see?

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5 Min Read

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Another day, another problem on Elon Musk’s Twitter.

On July 1, Musk tweeted that he would be imposing “temporary limits” on how many tweets users can view in a day. The limits were meant to address “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation.” These measures came just one day after Twitter began blocking visitors from viewing the site without being logged in, something Musk claimed was a “temporary emergency measure” to prevent data pillaging.

What is Twitter’s rate limit?

As Musk’s new constraints went into effect, users were greeted by messages that they had exceeded their rate limit for the day and that they could no longer see tweets. When first announced, verified users could view 6,000 posts, unverified accounts could view 600, and new unverified accounts could view 300. The limits have since been increased to 10,000, 1,000, and 500 posts, respectively.

Musk may have cited data scraping as the primary reason for imposing the rate limits, but according to Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, that reasoning wasn’t quite adding up. As first reported by Insider(opens in a new tab), Roth wrote in a thread on Twitter alternative Bluesky that “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.”

According to Roth, this isn’t even the first time Musk’s Twitter crashed because of fiddling with the site’s rate limiter. “There’s a reason the limiter was one of the most locked down internal tools,” he wrote. “Futzing with rate limits is probably the easiest way to break Twitter.”

Data scraping aside, there may have been another reason for the measure: a bug. As reported by Waxy(opens in a new tab), web developer Simon Chang(opens in a new tab) posted on Mastodon that he’d noticed a Twitter bug that is creating an infinite loop of requests:

This is hilarious. It appears that Twitter is DDOSing itself.

The Twitter home feed’s been down for most of this morning. Even though nothing loads, the Twitter website never stops trying and trying.

In the first video, notice the error message that I’m being rate limited. Then notice the jiggling scrollbar on the right.

The second video shows why it’s jiggling. Twitter is firing off about 10 requests a second to itself to try and fetch content that never arrives because Elon’s latest genius innovation is to block people from being able to read Twitter without logging in.

This likely created some hellish conditions that the engineers never envisioned and so we get this comedy of errors resulting in the most epic of self-owns, the self-DDOS.

Unbelievable. It’s amateur hour.

How can you get around Twitter’s rate limit?

If you want to get around Twitter’s rate limit, you can use log into your account on Tweetdeck(opens in a new tab) on a desktop or mobile browser, although it is designed to work best on a desktop. As of July 2, my own feed and notifications were working without a hitch on Tweetdeck, although some Twitter users are already reporting(opens in a new tab) issues(opens in a new tab) with their(opens in a new tab) experience(opens in a new tab), so your mileage may vary.



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