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Business News/ Technology / News/  Some Twitter users unable to post, told they’re ‘over daily limit'
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Some Twitter users unable to post, told they’re ‘over daily limit'

Many users were unable to send tweets on Wednesday, instead getting an automated message saying they were 'over the daily limit for sending Tweets' — even for those who hadn’t posted yet for the day

Users were getting an automated message saying they were ‘over the daily limit for sending Tweets’. (Photo: AFP)Premium
Users were getting an automated message saying they were ‘over the daily limit for sending Tweets’. (Photo: AFP)

Twitter Inc. users from the US to Asia were unable to tweet, follow new accounts or check messages, in one of the higher-profile outages since Elon Musk bought the platform and fired half its staff.

Many users were unable to send tweets on Wednesday, instead getting an automated message saying they were “over the daily limit for sending Tweets" — even for those who hadn’t posted yet for the day. The billionaire tweeted hours after problems surfaced that he hoped to resolve “multiple internal and external issues," without elaborating.

“Should be fully back on track later tonight," Musk posted.

An exodus of workers—many of whom were fired—since Musk’s acquisition has raised concerns about whether Twitter can sustain its operations and regulate content.

Users have expressed concern about a widespread Twitter breakdown since billionaire Musk took over the social network last year and immediately fired 50% of the company’s workforce. Many of those who left Twitter worked on core infrastructure projects that help keep the site operational. Some users and former staff openly fretted that such a sudden reduction in staff may lead to cascading product outages.

Technical problems also plagued other features within the app on Wednesday. Some users were unable to access direct messages, and others couldn’t follow additional accounts. Tweetdeck, the feature for power users who like to manage multiple timelines at once, was also down for some people.

Downdetector, a site that tracks technical outages for apps, showed a spike in user reports of trouble on the site, touching 9,500 just after 5.30pm New York time before starting to decline. San Francisco-based Twitter didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the issues.

The limit for tweets per day is currently set to 2,400, according to Twitter’s help centre, making it unlikely that most users came anywhere close to their maximum.

EU yellow card

Meanwhile, Twitter Inc. was the only major tech platform that didn’t send a complete report to the European Union detailing how it was tackling disinformation, a move that risks angering regulators.

Twitter’s report was short of data and didn’t include commitments from the social media company that it would empower fact-checkers, the EU’s executive arm said Thursday in a statement.

“I am disappointed to see that Twitter’s report lags behind others and I expect a more serious commitment to their obligations," wrote vice-president Vera Jourova, in charge of values of transparency for the European Commission.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, who recently spoke with Musk about following the EU’s rules, didn’t reference the company directly, but said that “it comes as no surprise that the degree of quality vary greatly according to the resources companies have allocated to this project."

The report, part of the EU’s voluntary code of practice on disinformation, details how companies are working to decrease the spread of misinformation such as that pushed by bots about covid to the number of political ads that were rejected. Twitter signed on to follow the code before Musk took over the firm late last year, and agreed to submit an updated report every six months.

“In some areas, Twitter is unable to provide granular data due to resource constraints and data limitations," the company said in its inaugural report published Thursday. “In other areas, there are issues that are not applicable to Twitter’s service."

While companies aren’t required to participate, not complying fully could put Twitter on a bad track with regulators, especially as companies get ready to implement a wide range of content moderation rules in the upcoming Digital Services Act by 1 September. Failing to follow the DSA could cost a company fines of as much as 6% of its annual revenue or even prompt the commission to ban a platform altogether.

Twitter will almost certainly qualify as a “very large online platform", requiring the company to address harmful content and submit annual risk assessments to the commission. Musk’s massive job cuts at Twitter — including the exodus of the company’s entire Brussels office — have raised concerns about whether the company will be able to make the necessary changes to comply with the EU’s rules.

A Commission official said Twitter’s incomplete submission shows that the company is not taking the code seriously enough. Twitter’s plans to require money for researchers to access to its APIs also goes against the spirit of the code, the official said.

Twitter is ending free access to their application programming interfaces, which has allowed academic researchers to study social media trends and posts on the platform.

Some activists were also critical of its report. “The circus at Twitter is undermining the very foundations of the Code," said Luca Nicotra, a campaign director at Avaaz, a nonprofit group that monitors social media. “They’ve set the bar so low that nobody’s looking at the failures of other platforms."

Since taking over, Musk has already made a number of changes to the platform that alter the way it tackles misinformation, including eliminating its covid misinformation policy.

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Published: 09 Feb 2023, 10:31 PM IST
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