What is the goal of the tweet viewing limit that Elon Musk has imposed on Twitter

The decision came in the purest ‘muskian’ style. A great change that will affect hundreds of millions of users that is implemented without warning, which is reported only through some comments on the personal account of the owner, who explains it jokingly, who first mocks those who criticize the measure to later qualify it twice in a matter of hours before the general rejection. In another unprecedented move in the social networking industry, Twitter has limited the number of tweets that each user can view per day on the platform, even those of those who pay the price. premium twitter.

Musk announced Saturday that the new tweet consumption limit would be 600 posts for regular users, 6,000 for paid users and 300 for new accounts. He then increased it to 800 / 8,000 / 400 and later to 1,000 / 10,000 / 500 for each member type, which is the current cap. Those who reach the limit are finding a notice informing them of this and inviting them to come back tomorrow to continue using the social network. The tycoon assures that it will be something “temporary”, but has not specified how long it will remain active.

The measure is Musk’s latest turn of the screw to increase the income channels of the social network, which was already in deficit before the magnate acquired it and whose financial situation has worsened after the flight of advertisers due to the extremism characteristic of the new owner. Their goal is to block the machine learning systems of new generative artificial intelligences from using comments posted by Twitter users to learn how humans express themselves.

This type of Artificial Intelligence (AI) builds meaningful texts by analyzing them with mathematical brute force. It analyzes huge amounts of writings that they extract from the Internet and calculates which word usually goes after another in each theme or argument. This is the reason why these machines do not really understand anything they are writing, they can have “hallucinations” with relative ease and experts warn that they are not really a step forward in the development of artificial intelligence that can reason. like a person.

The developers of ChatGPT and other tools of this type refuse to reveal what type of texts have been used in their training to avoid getting into trouble, since their right to use them for this purpose is in question. The EU has launched a privacy investigation against ChatGPT on suspicion that they have used citizens’ personal data without permission and some social networks are implementing measures to prevent AIs from sucking data without permission.

Twitter has gone the furthest with the new tweet viewing limit that Musk introduced this weekend. To be effective, AIs need to make large numbers of queries to social media databases, and the viewing space prevents them from doing so. “It was the only way to stop the data extraction,” explained Musk, who has also banned those who do not have an account from viewing any content published on the platform.

“Drastic and immediate action was necessary due to the EXTREME levels of data mining. Almost all companies dedicated to AI, from start-ups to some of the largest corporations in the world, were obtaining large amounts of data, ”the magnate has defended in another comment on the social network. “It’s quite infuriating to have to turn on a large number of servers on an emergency basis just to make it easier for some AI startup to get an outrageous rating,” he added.

Musk wants companies that use Twitter data — which is actually user-created content — to pay the company for it. In the absence of knowing if he succeeds, the bet is risky because it further damages his relationship with advertisers. Several advertising agencies have exposed to the Reuters agency that they have recommended that they “stop investing in Twitter immediately” since the limit will greatly harm users who spend more time on the platform, “the most interesting” for advertisers.

“Of course, this is not going to make it any easier to convince advertisers to come back. It was already being difficult to bring them back, ”said another analyst. Several specialists point out that the movement also harms the image of Linda Yaccarino, the new CEO of Twitter, an executive with a lot of experience in the advertising world whose mission was to recover this way of income. “The advertiser trust deficit that Linda Yaccarino needs to reverse has gotten even bigger. And it cannot be reversed based solely on its credibility in the sector”, has opined the director of the Forrester consultancy.

Against data mining

Twitter has not released any official documents detailing the move. Its press service email has returned an automatic response indicating that the company does not answer questions from journalists, as it has been doing for several months. The only explanations have been given by Musk on the platform answering other users. The tycoon defends that the only motivation for the limit is to stop the extraction of data from AI and that sooner or later all social networks will implement similar measures to stop it.

One of those that has already started on that path is Reddit, the largest forum in the world. The problem is that the blocking of data extraction has also implied side effects, such as the annihilation of all apps developed by third parties to navigate Reddit, which on this platform had a great weight due to its decentralized nature. Forum users launched a general strike that brought the forum to a standstill for two days, but the protests are deadlocked by the company’s refusal to change the decision.

As Musk has denounced, in the case of Twitter it was “several hundred organizations (maybe more)” that “were extracting data from Twitter in an extremely aggressive way, to the point that it was affecting the real user experience.” Still, trying to increase the profit the social network makes from third-party use of its data goes beyond AI: it recently blocked access to academic researchers who were combing Twitter for bots and disinformation campaigns. , earning another slap on the wrist of the EU.

Facua denounces Twitter before Consumption

The Facua consumer association has filed a complaint against Twitter before the Ministry of Consumption for not notifying of its intention to impose a limit on viewing tweets. “The legislation establishes that any change in the contractual conditions must be notified to consumers with reasonable notice. A notification that must also be produced on a durable medium, that is, by email, SMS or a downloadable file that shows the web or the app when you are logged in,” the association said in a statement.

Facua also points out that users who have contracted a subscription to the premium service of the social network, called “Twitter Blue”, have the right to request the termination of the contract and the refund of the amount proportional to the duration of the service that they have not yet consumed. .

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