Elon Musk’s tweet rate cap broke Twitter’s apps.

Elon Musk's tweet rate cap broke Twitter's apps.

Elon Musk’s tweet rate cap broke Twitter’s apps. In recent days, Twitter has not only ceased displaying tweets unless the user is logged in, but it has also begun capping the number of tweets each user can read (“rate limiting”), ostensibly due to “data scraping,” according to Elon Musk.

These actions are beginning to have a ripple effect across Twitter’s ecosystem, with many users reporting that Tweetdeck (a version of Twitter for advanced users) no longer functions. In addition, the Search Engine Roundtable reported that Google Search is displaying up to 50 percent fewer Twitter URLs due to the login requirement. 

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For many users, including Engadget, Tweetdeck ceased to function, displaying a rotating wheel above the majority of columns. Waxy reported that this may be due to a bug in Twitter’s web app transmitting requests in an infinite loop, creating a “self-DDOS” (distributed denial of service). As researcher Molly White tweeted, Tweetdeck multiplies this effect for columns other than “Home” by “repeatedly retrying 404s,” she explained. 

Matt Brian of Engadget tweeted that by using a new beta version of Tweetdeck, you can at least see your columns. However, these columns are still subject to rate limits (800 tweets for non-Twitter Blue subscribers), so the majority of users will no longer see new tweets immediately after Tweetdeck loads.

In addition, Google Search may display up to 50 percent fewer Twitter URLs as a result of Musk’s decision to block unregistered users. Using the site command, Barry Schwartz of the Search Engine Roundtable discovered that Google’s index contains approximately 52 percent fewer Twitter URLs than it did on Friday. The Search carousel still displays recent tweets, but normal indexing appears to be broken at the present. Schwartz tweeted, “Not that a site command is the best measure, but… Twitter has lost approximately 162 million indexed pages since this change.” 

There is no confirmation that the “self-DDOS” theory is accurate, but a post by developer Sheldon Chang on Mastodon suggests that disabling anonymous access to Twitter may have contributed to the problems. Twitter has stated that the authentication requirement and rate limits are “temporary,” but has not yet provided a date for their removal. 

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