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Elon Musk Applies Limits on Reading Tweets; Twitter 'Refuses' to Pay Google Cloud Bills

Twitter owner Elon Musk announced new restrictions for verified and unverified users in a bid to address 'data scraping and system manipulation.'

New Delhi: Elon Musk has tweeted about drastically limiting the number of tweets people can read. This update comes as Platformer reports that Twitter has refused to pay its Google Cloud bills, leading to questions on how its trust and safety teams could be compromised.

Musk, who is the CTO and owner of Twitter, said on Saturday that the move to limit posts was to address “extreme levels of data scrapping & system manipulation.” Data scraping refers to a process where data or content is extracted from one site, often without permission, to be displayed on another.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted that verified accounts would be able to read 10000 tweets a day and unverified accounts would be able to read 1000 tweets a day. Newly created unverified accounts will be limited to 500 tweets a day.

Musk initially announced stricter limits, but he changed it within hours.

He did not mention when the restriction would be lifted.

The announcement comes after users reported they were met with error messages that read “Cannot retrieve tweets.” Well into Sunday (today), #TwitterDown and #RIPTwitter continued to trend.

Thousands said they were unable to access the social media site, according to website Downdetector, which tracks internet disruptions.

Twitter previously allowed people to view content without having signed in. The site has suffered technical difficulties in recent months.

Platformer report

While some have connected Twitter’s limiting move to Twitter’s purported refusal to pay its Google Cloud bills, as reported by Zoe Schiffer and Casey Newton on Platformer, it is yet unclear if one is the consequence of another.

While Twitter hosts some services on its own servers, the company has long contracted with Google and Amazon to complement its infrastructure, the report says.

Before Musk’s takeover in 2022, Twitter had signed a multi-year contract with Google to host services related to fighting spam, removing child sexual abuse material, and protecting accounts, among other things.

The date to renew this contract was June 30, according to the report.

Musk and Twitter

Musk bought Twitter last year in October for $44 billion (€40.4 billion) after months of legal wrangling over the company.

But in the months following the takeover, Musk, as the CEO of the company, faced criticism over management of the site as offensive content began appearing a lot more on the website and advertising revenue declined.

He then introduced Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that verifies people with a blue checkmark.

The blue tick to verify people previously used to authenticate influential people.

But the symbol, since becoming paid, has declined in status.

(With inputs from DW)