On Saturday, Twitter experienced a widespread outage that affected thousands of users. According to DownDetector, a site that tracks outages, nearly 13,000 users reported issues with accessing the site. In the UK, there were over 5,300 reported outages, while in the US, there were more than 7,500. Users who were able to regain access to the site reported receiving a notification that said, “Sorry, you are rate limited. Please wait a few moments then try again.” As a result, the term “Rate Limit Exceeded” trended on Twitter, with many users tweeting about their inability to access the platform.
The outage may be connected to a new policy announced by Twitter owner, Elon Musk. On Friday, Musk tweeted that they had to bring large numbers of servers online on an emergency basis due to AI companies scraping “extreme levels” of data from the platform. Then, on Saturday, Musk announced that Twitter would temporarily limit the number of tweets users can read per day. This move effectively limits the amount of time users can spend on the platform each day. Verified users, mainly those subscribed to Musk’s troubled Twitter Blue program, will be able to read 6,000 posts per day. Unverified users and newly created unverified accounts will have limits of 600 and 300 posts per day, respectively.
Musk’s decision sparked confusion among users and led to a renewed interest in alternative platforms such as BlueSky, Jack Dorsey, Tumblr, Twitter Blue, Mastodon, and Hive, which all trended on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
The announcement came after users previously complained about not being able to view tweets without logging in and being unable to share tweet previews with a link. Musk later clarified that these were temporary measures to prevent companies from scraping data from Twitter.
The AI bots that rely on large language models, like ChatGPT, are trained by reading a vast amount of content pulled from the internet. Musk has taken a hostile stance against AI companies using Twitter data to train their language models without paying for it.
It remains unclear whether Saturday’s outage was a direct result of the changes made by Musk or if it was users experiencing the daily limits before Musk’s announcement. However, recent outages and glitches on Twitter since Musk took over have often been caused by small mistakes or changes to the platform.
Twitter has not responded to requests for comment on the matter, as the company changed its policy for interacting with the media earlier this year.