Twitter has had to deal with many challenges since Elon Musk officially took over as the social media platform's owner, from mass layoffs late last year to frequent system outages and a problematic rollout of a new verification system. These challenges have prompted investors to repeatedly lower their estimations of the company's value since Musk's purchase. (Related: SHRINKING BIRD: Twitter now worth just one-third of what Elon Musk paid to purchase it.)
During the past week, the self-inflicted crises of Twitter reached a tipping point as Musk announced a change that made tweets inaccessible to people who don't have accounts. This "temporary emergency measure" to combat "data pillaging" caused confusion and dissatisfaction among users. Although the change has seemingly been reversed, it was just the first of several disruptive alterations over the weekend.
Musk later announced additional "temporary limits" that restricted the number of tweets users could view per day. Initially, paid Twitter Blue subscribers were limited to 6,000 tweets, while non-subscribers were restricted to 600. Following a swift backlash, Musk was compelled to raise the limits twice, first to 8,000 and 800 tweets, respectively, and then to 10,000 and 1,000 tweets daily.
Furthermore, Twitter announced that access to TweetDeck, a popular app allowing users to monitor multiple accounts simultaneously, will be restricted to verified accounts starting next month. Musk justified these changes by claiming that increased demand from artificial intelligence (AI) companies scraping "extreme levels" of data required additional server capacity.
The company claimed this move was temporary and aimed at combating automated bots and AI companies that rely on Twitter data to train their algorithms. However, the decision to make the platform less user-friendly has inadvertently provided an opportunity for competitors to lure disillusioned users away.
Now, Meta seems eager to benefit from the situation with their new app called "Threads, an Instagram app," which launched on Thursday, July 6, and has logged more than five million new users in just the first few hours after its launch.
Twitter, known for its real-time news and celebrity engagement, is seeing a significant decline in its user base. Users are flocking to alternative platforms due to a combination of technical issues, policy changes and dissatisfaction with recent developments.
In recent months, a growing list of Twitter alternatives have popped up, including Meta's Threads, the decentralized microblogging network Mastodon and Bluesky Social, backed by Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey.
Eugen Rochko, the founder of Mastodon, has reported a sharp increase in active users. In just one day, the platform gained 110,000 new users, with the number rising to nearly 300,000 as of July 2. Bluesky, another Twitter alternative, experienced system slowdowns due to the "record-high traffic" and a large influx of new users.
While Mastodon and Bluesky have experienced increased interest, Meta holds a distinct advantage with its extensive resources and the ability to cross-promote Threads to its massive user bases on Facebook and Instagram. Meta has previously attempted to encroach on rivals with varying degrees of success.
For instance, Instagram's Stories feature, a Snapchat clone, has already surpassed the popularity of Snapchat itself. However, other standalone apps like Poke, Slingshot and Lifestage faltered due to strong competition and limited consumer demand for alternatives.
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Watch this news announcing Elon Musk's temporary limitations on how many Twitter posts a user can view in a single day.
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