Elon Musk has announced that Twitter will apply a temporary limit to the number of tweets users can read in a day.
In a tweet of his own, the platform’s owner said unverified accounts are now limited to reading 1,000 posts a day.
For new unverified accounts, the number is 500. Meanwhile, accounts with “verified” status are currently limited to 10,000 posts a day.
Elon Musk initially set stricter limits, but he changed these within hours of announcing the move.
He said the temporary limits were to address “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation”.
The billionaire did not explain what was meant by system manipulation in this context.
“We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users,” Elon Musk explained on June 30, after users were presented with screens asking them to log in to view Twitter content.
The move was described as a “temporary emergency measure”.
It is not totally clear what Elon Musk is referring to by data scraping, but it appears he means the scraping of large amounts of data used by artificial intelligence (AI) companies to train large language models, which power chatbots such as Open AI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.
In simple terms, data scraping is the pulling of information from the internet. Large language models need to learn from masses of real human conversations. But the quality is vital to the success of a chatbot. Reddit and Twitter’s huge trove of billions of posts are thought to be hugely important training data – and used by AI companies.
But platforms like Twitter and Reddit want to be paid for this data.