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Temporary Ban Prohibits Unregistered Users from Viewing Tweets on Twitter



Twitter isn’t letting people view tweets for now without being logged into an account.

Company owner Elon Musk tweeted that the change was a “temporary emergency measure” to deter third-party scraping of data from the social media platform. “We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!” Musk wrote.

Musk has previously tweeted complaints about companies scraping Twitter’s data to train its artificial intelligence, alleging that Microsoft “trained illegally using Twitter data” and saying start-up OpenAI was not authorized to do so.

The move could drive more Twitter lurkers to sign up for accounts, but if it proves to be a long-term change, there could be other consequences, such as impeding internet archives that take automatic screencaps of tweets.

But Friday’s change shouldn’t affect the ranking of tweets on search engines, one expert said. Twitter can still let Google and others access feeds while blocking unregistered users, much as paywalled news sites do, said Jeff Sherman, the founder of Top Marketing Agency.

“If they’re allowing search engines to still access Twitter and all the feeds and then index the feeds, then everything will still function as far as SEO is concerned with Twitter,” Sherman said.

Friday’s change triggered widespread complaints online. If Musk quickly reverses the move, it wouldn’t be the first time he backtracked after public pressure. Last December, Musk implemented a new rule banning links to some other social media sites, but backlash from users ultimately overturned the decision.

The move is the latest change made to the app since Musk took over last October. After losing some significant advertisers, Twitter rolled out several new subscription features, one of which lets users put tweets behind a personal paywall that followers can subscribe to for a monthly fee.

In April, Twitter announced that it would cut off support for its free API, instead charging companies as much as $500,000 a year to use the once-free tool, which critics said could hinder public safety alerts and war-crime research.

This month, Musk hired former NBCUniversal head of advertising Linda Yaccarino to replace him as CEO. Musk now serves as the company’s executive chair and chief technology officer.

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