Twitter restricts access to non-account holders, tackling data scraping menace

Twitter announced on Friday a paradigm-shifting policy - users will now be required to log into their accounts to view content on the platform. The novel move, regarded by Musk as a "temporary emergency measure", was instituted in a bid to stem the tide of rampant data scraping that had been negatively impacting user experience.

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Twitter app

The new policy will enforce that any individual attempting to view content on Twitter will first have to create an account or log into an existing one. This unexpected restriction was deemed necessary due to the volume of data pillage on the platform, which, according to Musk, was severely degrading the service quality for regular users.

Musk highlighted the severity of the issue in a tweet, claiming that “hundreds of organisations or more” were harvesting Twitter data “extremely aggressively”. He had previously voiced his displeasure at firms specialising in artificial intelligence, such as OpenAI, who have been utilising Twitter’s data to educate their sophisticated language models.

Looking ahead, Musk was unequivocal about his intention to bring legal proceedings against those accused of pilfering Twitter’s data. He anticipates seeing these cases in court within an “optimistic” timeframe of two to three years.

In a move that underlines the seriousness of the situation, Musk’s legal representative, Alex Spiro, sent a letter in May to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella. In this letter, Spiro asked the tech behemoth to audit its use of Twitter’s content, alleging that the Windows developer had contravened an agreement about utilising data from the social media company.

Twitter is concurrently implementing a variety of measures to win back advertisers who departed the platform after Musk assumed ownership. The measures include enhancing subscription revenue by incorporating verification check marks into the Twitter Blue program.

At the beginning of the month, Twitter disclosed plans to focus on video, creator, and commerce partnerships. This strategic shift is expected to reinvigorate the social media company’s business model beyond the realm of digital advertising.

Twitter has begun charging users to access its application programming interface (API). This interface, frequently used by third-party apps and researchers, will now come at a price, adding another layer to the company’s efforts to combat data misuse.

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