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Twitter CEO Yaccarino breaks silence on platform’s reading caps

Twitter’s recently appointed CEO Linda Yaccarino has commented for the first time on the platform’s controversial decision to impose temporary reading limits on its users.

Tweeting on Tuesday, Yaccarino strongly backed the action, describing it as a “big move” and “meaningful.”

Yaccarino wrote: “When you have a mission like Twitter — you need to make big moves to keep strengthening the platform. This work is meaningful and on-going.” She then provided a link to a page offering “more insight on our work to ensure the authenticity of our user base.”

The page, titled Update on Twitter’s Rate Limits, said that to ensure the authenticity of the platform’s user base, “we must take extreme measures to remove spam and bots from our platform.”

It said the move to impose usage limits enabled Twitter engineers to “detect and eliminate bots and other bad actors that are harming the platform,” adding that “any advance notice on these actions would have allowed bad actors to alter their behavior to evade detection.”

The post said that the company is working on stopping bot accounts from scraping people’s public Twitter data to build AI models — something that is known to be a bugbear for Twitter owner Elon Musk — and also from “manipulating people and conversation on the platform in various ways.”

The restrictions currently affect “a small percentage of people using the platform,” Twitter said, while also promising to issue an update when the work is done.

The message closed: “At times, even for a brief moment, you must slow down to speed up.”

Musk announced reading limits for Twitter users at the weekend, saying they were needed to address “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation.”

The restrictions limit verified accounts to reading 10,000 posts a day, unverified accounts to 1,000 a day, and new unverified accounts to 500 a day. The changes also mean that people have to log in to view Twitter’s web version.

The moves were met with widespread criticism from users frustrated with ongoing disruptions on Twitter since Musk acquired the company in a $44 billion deal in October.

Matters were made worse on Monday when Twitter said that from early August, users will lose access to its web-based TweetDeck dashboard unless they subscribe to its premium service, Twitter Blue.

The changes come in what could be a pivotal week for Twitter as Facebook owner Meta prepares to launch a rival app called Threads, with all eyes on how many Twitter users jump ship.

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Trevor Mogg
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