Twitter, the popular social media platform under the helm of billionaire Elon Musk, recently started blocking access to anyone who is not signed into the platform as a registered user. Both casual and logged-out users were formerly able to browse the platform’s content freely. However, an unexpected move by Twitter now presents these users with a log-in prompt. This abrupt change has stirred confusion, sparking speculation as to whether it was a deliberate move or a technical error. The alteration was first spotted by The Verge and later confirmed by Engadget across multiple browsers and devices.
Impacts and Implications
Notably, this move could potentially impact several aspects. Search engines such as Google, which used to include tweets in its search results, might face challenges due to Twitter’s API changes and the restriction on tweet visibility. Data scraping services, which rely on public-facing platforms like Twitter for information, could also face roadblocks.
- The change might not necessarily entice people to sign up for an account. For instance, if a user wanted to share a tweet with a non-Twitter user, they might opt to send a screenshot rather than a link, potentially decreasing the likelihood of the non-user joining the platform.
- The advertising revenue of Twitter is reported to have taken a significant hit. Hence, erecting a barrier between potential new users and content might not be the most strategic decision at this point.
- It is worth noting that most US adults have been spending less time on Twitter since Musk took control of the service. This scenario suggests that Twitter should be strategizing on how to get more eyes on tweets and ads, not the contrary.
Musk, in defense of the move, stated on Friday that the decision was a “Temporary emergency measure” instigated due to third-party companies ‘scraping’ data and overloading Twitter’s systems. He explained that several organizations were scraping Twitter data so aggressively that it started affecting the user experience.
Musk also pointed out the data scraping groups’ violation of terms and conditions, alleging that they “dgaf & mask their IPs through proxy servers or through organs that appear legit.” He cited an example of a massive scraping operation originating from Oracle IP addresses, implying that they were merely using their servers as a “laundromat.” Musk warned of possible legal action against those who “stole” Twitter’s data.
New CEO to Boost Revenue
Twitter’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, formerly NBCU’s top advertising sales executive, is tasked with revitalizing the company’s dwindling advertising revenue. Musk himself plans to stay involved in his favored social network to steer “product design & new technology.” Since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and subsequent layoffs of approximately 80% of its employees, the platform has experienced technical hitches, notably during a Twitter Spaces live audio event with Ron DeSantis.
Despite the upheavals, Musk maintains an optimistic outlook, stating that Twitter has never been more popular and that the company, now officially renamed X Corp, is introducing new features at a swift pace. “This platform hit another all-time high in user seconds last week,” he tweeted on Friday.
Addressing Technical Issues
Twitter hasn’t confirmed whether the recent restrictions for non-registered users are a deliberate move to control data scraping or a repercussion of the aforementioned technical problems. Although the company has been silent on the issue, the blockage has posed problems for users since April, with logged-out users unable to utilize Twitter’s search function. As of now, no solution or explanation has been proposed, adding to the increasing list of the platform’s complications.
As Twitter maneuvers through these choppy waters, its user base looks to its leadership for resolution and improvements. Elon Musk, while acknowledging the technical hiccups, has maintained an optimistic view of the platform’s future, citing continuous user growth and new feature development. With Linda Yaccarino at the helm, the goal is to restore advertising revenue and boost the platform’s performance.
In the face of numerous challenges, Twitter’s next steps will be crucial in determining the platform’s future. While Elon Musk’s leadership has brought about many changes, the recent turn of events has led to widespread speculation about the platform’s strategies and its impact on users, advertisers, and data-related services. The unfolding story of Twitter’s transformation is one to watch closely in the coming months.
Twitter’s decision to block non-registered users is causing some discontent among users and driving them towards competition, as we examine in a related article.