Twitter’s power-user focused TweetDeck interface is experiencing major issues after owner Elon Musk announced limits on the number of tweets users can view daily. The Verge has experienced these issues first hand with our publication’s Twitter accounts, and multiple users across the platform (including at least one Twitter Blue subscriber, spotted by TechCrunch) are reporting seeing an empty interface that would normally be filled with tweets. Users are reporting varying aspects of the interface being broken, with notifications, mentions, likes, and lists failing to load.
While users have been reporting issues with Twitter throughout the weekend, problems with TweetDeck are likely to create issues for professional and power users of Twitter, who rely on the service to build their brands, promote their work, and — in the case of many newsrooms — as a reporting tool.
While it seemed like issues could have related to the new limits on viewing tweets that Elon Musk announced on July 1st, two Twitter employees have said that’s not the case. Instead, they attributed to the problems to the removal of legacy APIs in the old version of TweetDeck and said that Twitter is planning to move users over to the new version of the app that has been in preview. The rate limits are in effect for new TweetDeck.
Musk claimed that the limits, which he called “temporary” were needed “to address extreme levels of data scraping [and] system manipulation” on the platform. With the new limits applied, Verified accounts (essentially those subscribed to Twitter Blue) were limited to reading 6000 posts a day, while other accounts would be limited to either 600 or 300, depending on their age.
Musk later announced increases in these limits to 10,000 tweets for verified subscribers, and between 1,000 and 500 tweets for other users. Away from TweetDeck, Twitter’s main website and apps appear to be functional as of Monday morning.
The limits were announced a day after Twitter started blocking unregistered users from reading tweets for similar reasons. “Several hundred organizations (maybe more) were scraping Twitter data extremely aggressively, to the point where it was affecting the real user experience,” Musk said as justification for the change. Musk is likely referring to AI companies here, with the suggestion that they’re scraping Twitter to train large language models.
Although Musk is characterizing the limits as an intentional measure, it’s the latest example of the platform’s reliability having suffered in recent months. In early March, Twitter experienced an outage that left many users unable to view images or follow links posted on the platform. The problem is believed to have been caused after the sole engineer working to shut down free access to the Twitter API made a “bad configuration change” that “basically broke the Twitter API.”
Shortly after taking ownership of the company, Elon Musk embarked upon a series of layoffs that “left teams in charge of Twitter’s most critical infrastructure and user experience with a skeletal staff.” In total, Musk says he’s laid off over 6,000 employees at Twitter, bringing its total headcount down from a little under 8,000 to around 1,500. The social media network also reportedly stopped paying Google Cloud for its services last month until Twitter’s new CEO Linda Yaccarino mended the relationship, Bloomberg reported.
When contacted for comment, Twitter’s press line responded with an automated poop emoji, as it has done since shortly after Elon Musk took over the company and gutted its communications department.
Update July 3rd, 5:28PM ET: Added context from Twitter employees about what’s causing the issues and that users will be switched over to the new version of TweetDeck.