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Elon Musk Imposes Twitter Paywalls in Response to AI Startups' Data Scraping

Elon Musk blames AI startups' aggressive data scraping for new limitations on Twitter, necessitating accounts and paid "Twitter Blue" verified access for users to read tweets.

Elon Musk announcing new Twitter limitations in response to AI data scraping.

Elon Musk is attributing new constraints on Twitter to artificial intelligence (AI) companies scraping massive amounts of data. Following these restrictions, unverified accounts can now only view 600 posts per day, with new unverified accounts limited to 300 per day. Verified accounts, whether acquired through the Twitter Blue subscription, granted by an organization, or forced upon popular figures with over a million followers, can read a maximum of 6,000 posts per day.

The Tesla CEO announced that the rate limits would soon increase to 8,000 tweets for verified users, 800 for unverified, and 400 for new unverified accounts. These restrictions were implemented shortly after Twitter began blocking access to anyone not logged in. Musk asserted this was necessary because hundreds of organizations were scraping Twitter data so aggressively that it affected the user experience.

This change marks another effort by Musk to monetize Twitter, which he acquired in recent months. In March, Twitter announced a three-tier API change that would begin charging for the use of its API. This followed the roll-out of the $8 per month Twitter Blue subscription model that offers verification.

With Musk's takeover, Twitter has become a private company, and its financial situation is less transparent. However, Musk's recent hiring of former NBC Universal ad executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO indicates the importance of advertising revenue for the business.

Musk has alleged that the companies scraping data for training large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing, and Google Bard are responsible for the new restrictions. However, he did not mention his decision to lay off more than half of Twitter's staff since taking over the company, including those critical to maintaining its infrastructure. These layoffs have raised concerns about Twitter's stability and unpaid bills.