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Twitter users report problems accessing the site as Musk sets temporary viewing limits

Twitter wasn't working for thousands of users on Saturday.
Jeff Chiu
Twitter wasn't working for thousands of users on Saturday.

Updated July 1, 2023 at 6:28 PM ET

Thousands of Twitter users reported problems accessing the site on Saturday.

The issue appeared to affect users on both the social media app and website.

Many people who tried to view, search, refresh and post content on the platform were met with error messages that read, "Rate limit exceeded" or "Cannot retrieve tweets."

"Please wait a few moments then try again," the prompts read.

The issue was intermittent; many people were at some point able to post about their inability to access the site.

More than 7,400 people reported a problem accessing Twitter around 11 a.m. ET, according the website Downdetector. That number fell to about 2,000 reports by early evening.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced temporary limits on the number of posts people can view.
/ Twitter/Screenshot by NPR
Twitter/Screenshot by NPR
Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced temporary limits on the number of posts people can view.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk addressed the issue on Saturday. He said viewing limits would be temporarily imposed on tweets to address "extreme levels of data scraping" and "system manipulation."

As of Saturday evening, "Verified" accounts were limited to reading 10,000 posts per day and unverified accounts limited to 1,000 tweets per day, Musk said. The limit on new, unverified accounts is 500 per day. Those numbers were up from lower numbers Musk cited earlier in the day.

The restrictions follow Twitter's announcement that it would require users to sign up for or log into an existing account on the site to be able to view tweets. He called the move a "temporary emergency measure," adding that several hundred organizations were scraping Twitter data "extremely aggressively,"which he said was affecting user experience.

The recent set of limitations, however, have struck many users as a ploy to get users to pay more money in order to access a better experience on Twitter with a "verified" account, which costs $8 per month.

In an emailed response to NPR's inquiry, Twitter responded with its standard poop emoji.

It's the latest widespread outage since Musk took over the social media site late last year.

Previous outages coincided with reports of mass layoffs at Twitter, which Musk said were financially necessary for the company. Since the SpaceX and Tesla CEO acquired the company in October, the site's ad revenue has taken a steep dive.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.