Musk Imposes 'Rate Limit' on Twitter Users, Freakout Commences

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

Twitter chairman Elon Musk imposed rate limits on users Saturday, claiming that the move was intended to address “extreme levels of data scraping and & system manipulation.”


“We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!” the billionaire Tesla CEO wrote.

Additionally, users were required to log in or create an account to view tweets, a move the SpaceX founder called a “temporary emergency measure.”

He blamed the use of artificial intelligence by companies for using up too many of the system’s resources. “Almost every company doing AI, from startups to some of the biggest corporations on Earth, was scraping vast amounts of data,” he said. “It is rather galling to have to bring large numbers of servers online on an emergency basis just to facilitate some AI startup’s outrageous valuation.”

Many users were met with a message reading, “Sorry, you are rate limited. Please wait a few moments, then try again.” The goalposts seem to be moving regularly:

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.

Although those numbers might sound large, many casual users were reporting that they were getting the message just for scrolling through a thread or two, quickly reaching the limit. One of my fellow RedState writers said, “Musk is claiming he wants to throttle down heavy users, but I was getting Rate Limited this morning almost immediately without hitting his threshold.” Another: “Me too and yesterday my impressions were ridiculously low.”


Outrage quickly poured out from the Twitterati. “Well, he finally did it. Elon Musk has broken Twitter so badly that it might as well be offline at this point,” wrote Forbes in an article titled, No One Believes Elon Musk’s Explanation For Breaking Twitter. The outraged columnist continued:

After that, you hit a “rate limit” message, and are unable to see new tweets. The cap has since been raised to 1,000/10,000, but that’s still barely anything for non-Blue users. Somehow, this technical disaster has been used to further encourage Twitter Blue subscriptions in a move only Musk would be capable of.

Others were quick to make fun of the limits:

Former CEO Jack Dorsey sympathized with Musk:

I am a late convert to Twitter, only becoming a regular user about a year ago. I would regularly hector my wife, a prolific poster, arguing that the social media platform was a cesspool of hate and people sniping at each other from behind the safety of their computer screens. However, I admit that I now appreciate the site and enjoy some of the back and forth (when people stay sane, which is not always the case).

Some claimed the limit was put in place because the site was having technical issues, while others theorized that it was a way to cut costs and increase revenue by forcing people to pay for access. Whatever the reasoning, the outrage was palpable:


This is easily the worst thing Musk has done since taking over the site, and his most obvious smokescreen saying this is about protecting the site from evil AI scrapers. If that’s true, it’s effectively like burning down your house to kill a couple mosquitos.

This cannot last forever or the site is dead. It may be a while until things are back to normal, but until then, as Musk says, I suppose you can go outside.

(In an ironic twist, my wife tried to like the meme above and got a different warning message. This is after she succumbed to the siren call of Musk and plonked down $11 for a Twitter Blue subscription yesterday.)

“Please try again later” message from Twitter. (Credit: Twitter screenshot)

If you see people staring angrily at their phones as you go about your business today, now you’ll know why.


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