Twitter has been even more of a mess than usual over the last few days, in part because it limited the number of tweets users could read each day. The decision came as a surprise to many, but the company said it was unable to give folks a heads up.
“We temporarily limited usage so we could detect and eliminate bots and other bad actors that are harming the platform,” a Twitter Business blog post reads. “Any advance notice on these actions would have allowed bad actors to alter their behavior to evade detection.”
While some have been skeptical of Twitter’s reasoning for the move, the company says it limited the rate limit to stop bad actors from scraping public data to feed into artificial intelligence models and to prevent them from “manipulating people and conversation on the platform in various ways.” It says that the rate limits currently impact a small percentage of users and it will provide an update when these efforts are complete.
It seemed strange that Twitter posted this update on its business blog until the company mentioned that rate limiting has had a “minimal” effect on advertising. Many pointed out that limiting the number of tweets users could read per day would make it harder for advertisers to reach users and for Twitter to make money.
Rate limiting broke Twitter’s website and apps for the most part, including TweetDeck, an app that many power users rely on. To help remedy that, the company released “a new, improved version of TweetDeck.” The company is moving all users over to the latest version, but there was another twist in store: Twitter is making the app exclusive to verified accounts, effectively putting a paywall on TweetDeck for the vast majority of users.