It was widely reported yesterday that Twitter could no longer be accessed, at all, without first signing into the platform. Elon Musk has now tweeted in response to all the coverage explaining that the step is just a temporary emergency measure to fight data pillaging, as he calls it.
Temporary emergency measure. We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 30, 2023
In a recent change to the website, any attempt to view tweets or a Twitter profile causes a login prompt to appear. If a user decided to close the popup without logging in, they would be bounced to the website’s homepage.
The move seems to be an extension of the restrictions placed on Twitter Search back in April. Neowin first reported that change before any other news outlets.
With the restrictions placed on search, those who were not logged in couldn’t see the search box at all while in the Explore feed but once they clicked on a tweet, the search box would be available again. However, clicking on the search box would bring up the login prompt so it was unusable if you didn’t have an account.
The whole Twitter lockdown issue is quite weird because when Musk took over the company he was eager to open up the search and briefly hired George Hotz to do the work. When ChatGPT splashed onto the scene, though, Musk questioned what data GPT had been trained on.
Musk has said several times that Twitter is struggling financially and as one means of making money, he has decided that the company will be charging $42,000 for API access. If any tech firms want to use tweets for training data, they will need to pay a hefty API fee before they can use the data.
Reddit is also following Twitter's lead by charging a massive fee for API access. Under Reddit’s pricing scheme, it’ll charge $12,000 for 50 million requests. The move has caused some third-party apps to close and many subreddits went private in protest.