Twitter CEO, Elon Musk has announced changes to the platform that may undermine Twitter’s popularity.
Musk announced in a tweet on 1 July, 2023 that users will now be limited in reading the number of tweets per day. Musk has claimed that he has done this to lower levels of system manipulation and data scraping.
This limitation extends to 300 tweets a day for new unverified accounts, 600 tweets for unverified accounts and 6,000 for verified accounts.
These limits and its hierarchical system come a couple months after Musk changed the verification system on Twitter. In April, Musk announced that verification will now be monetized. A blue checkmark that once was used to validate the identity of famous figures on the platform has now become a sign of wealth. The blue checkmark next to users’ Twitter handles and verification status are now worth $1,000 a month.
In other words, to be able to read the already limited 6,000 tweets a day, one has to pay the expensive monthly subscription fee. The decision has appalled users who now quickly reach the daily limit.
Another change that was announced by Musk was the necessity of having a Twitter account to view tweets. This will restrict the visibility of users’ tweets to outside sources that once had free access to the platform.
These controversial updates to the platform come at the same time one of Twitter’s biggest rivals, the Meta group, which comprises Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, announced its new platform that aims to rival Twitter directly. A Meta developer,Allesandro Paluzzi, indirectly announced the new platform by tweeting that a new project was released on the Google Play store and Apple stores. This led users to find the new app, Threads, which was quickly taken down after the announcement. Threads will be an affiliate product of Instagram that allows users to post word-based content to share their point of view and interactions. The new app will be able to sync to users' Instagram profiles. The platform looks very similar to Twitter in its setup and design. The app is set to be released on July 6.This is not the first time Instagram borrows popular features from other major social media platforms and successfully integrates them into the platform. In August 2016, Instagram introduced its story feature, which allowed users to post pictures and videos that would disappear after 24 hours. Many suspected it was a direct copy of Snapchats’ story feature. In August 2020, Instagram added its reel feature, which allowed viewers to post and consume short videos. This feature was used to rival TiKTok’s similar model.
Twitter’s controversial changes may lead to its downfall as a popular platform. Restricting its users and changing the ethos of free and accessible content may push even its most loyal users to switch to other platforms. The timing of Meta’s announcement of Threads puts Twitter in a dangerous position.
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