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Elon Musk says Twitter will temporarily limit number of posts users can view per day, citing ‘system manipulation’

Jaap Arriens | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Elon Musk said Saturday that Twitter users will only be able to read a certain number of posts per day due to “extreme levels of data scraping” and “system manipulation” on the platform.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO, who is executive chairman and CTO of Twitter, said the limits are temporary, but verified accounts will be able to read 8,000 posts per day, unverified accounts will be able to read 800 posts per day and new unverified accounts will be limited to reading 400 posts per day.

Later in the day, Musk tweeted the limits would be raised again, “Now to 10k, 1k & 0.5k.”

Musk did not say exactly when those restrictions will be increased or lifted entirely. He increased the limits twice from the previous rates he had set earlier Saturday afternoon.

Musk’s tweet comes as thousands of users reported problems as they tried to access Twitter Saturday, marking the latest widespread outage since he acquired the social media site late last year.

Many users who tried to access or post content on Twitter’s website or mobile app were met with a “Rate limit exceeded” or “Cannot retrieve tweets” error message. As of 11 a.m. ET, more than 7,300 people reported issues with Twitter to the website Downdetector.

Twitter responded to CNBC’s request for comment with an automated response. It is not immediately clear if the site’s outage is related to Twitter’s new limited-reading policy.

The social media site also began restricting access to content that was available to users without an account on Friday. Twitter had previously allowed people to view public profiles and tweets, even if they had not signed in, but they are now immediately prompted with a log-in window.

Musk said in a tweet Friday that “drastic and immediate action” was necessary due to “EXTREME” levels of data scraping. He added that the restrictions would be “unlocked shortly,” but the content remained restricted as of Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s outage is not the first time Twitter has suffered technical difficulties in recent months. In February, users were unable to post on the site for about 90 minutes after receiving a message that read, “You are over the daily limit for sending Tweets.” In March, users were temporarily unable to click on links or load images.

Other outages coincided with reports of a data center closure and massive layoffs at Twitter, which Musk claimed were necessary for the financial health of the company.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to show that Elon Musk is no longer CEO of Twitter. He is CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

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