On Saturday, visitors to its website were met with error messages such as “rate limit exceeded” and “cannot retrieve tweets.” That followed another issue on Friday in which users who were not logged in were redirected to a signup page.
As for the latter, Musk described it on Friday as a “temporary emergency measure,” adding, “We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users.”
He pointed to artificial intelligence companies scraping data from the social network:
“Drastic & immediate action was necessary due to EXTREME levels of data scraping. Almost every company doing AI, from startups to some of the biggest corporations on Earth, was scraping vast amounts of data. 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.”
One of Musk’s first moves upon taking over the company last October was changing where visitors to Twitter.com were redirected—instead of a signup page, they’d go to the Explore page, which shows trending tweets and news stories.
On Friday evening, he tweeted, “Any social media companies that allow unauthenticated access will become bot-strewn hellscapes as soon as they become relevant.”
He wrote on Saturday morning that, temporarily, verified Twitter accounts would be limited to reading 6,000 posts per day, unverified accounts 600, and new unverified accounts 300. Hours later, he indicated those numbers would soon be upped to 8,000 for verified, 800 for unverified, 400 for new unverified.
As for the new error messages on Saturday, Fortune reached out to Twitter for comment but received no immediate reply from anyone at the company. But we received the error message “Sorry, you are rate limited” when logged in as an unverified user and trying to view tweets from Musk, Fortune, and others.
On Saturday morning, Twitter’s trending topics box was dominated by griping about the platform’s issues, with users deploying the hashtag #TwitterDown, “rate limit exceeded” meme posts, “Wtf Twitter,” and so forth. The website Downdector showed a surge of Twitter users—more than 7,500—reporting issues with the social network on Saturday morning.
In February, Twitter users across North America were unable to send messages, with an error message saying they were “over the daily limit for sending tweets.” Musk at the time asked employees to “please pause for now on new feature development in favor of maximizing system stability and robustness, especially with the Super Bowl coming up.”
In early March, Twitter users found that clicking on links within tweets didn’t work, resulting in the error message “your current API plan does not include access to this endpoint.”