What is Musk aiming for by restricting Twitter?

5 mins read
What is Musk aiming for by restricting Twitter?

While closing fake accounts and limiting content viewing are part of the restriction campaign, there is talk of limiting artificial intelligence access to the platform

Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has suddenly imposed severe restrictions on users of the social networking platform.

On Saturday evening, Musk announced that verified accounts on Twitter would only be able to view 6,000 items per day, unverified accounts would be able to view 600 items per day, and new accounts would be allowed 300 views. After that, he said, access would stop and users would have to close the Twitter app for the day and return 24 hours later.

So what is the reason behind this change?

Fake accounts

Following the introduction of subscription fees to Twitter’s API as part of a move to clamp down on the majority of fake accounts on Twitter, which have been disrupting engagement by posting misleading information and advertisements, media outlets quoted various sources as saying that these accounts have begun using a different method of fake engagement on the platform.

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This alternative method works outside of Twitter’s own API and relies on libraries called WebKitGTK, as reported by Independent Arabia. In this method, a person can use specific commands to spread misinformation and other different content. This makes the social media platform a hotbed of fake data spread through fake accounts managed by paying organizations. By paying these organizations, anyone can spread any information on the platform, start a specific hashtag, or falsely interact with any account or post.

However, after buying Twitter, Elon Musk announced that he plans to find different solutions to the problem of fake interactions and misinformation on the platform, which has caused them a great deal of trouble. The approach of the US elections in 2024 is also a big factor. Many of the platforms are preparing for these elections, worried about liability in the event of an incident that could negatively affect the vote by spreading misleading information about the elections.

Other sources say that one of Twitter’s goals is to put an end to the wave of misinformation that is currently spreading at the height of the protests in France. President Emmanuel Macron has described an interference from social media platforms to inflame the situation in his country. In light of this, many platforms are currently looking for solutions to further restrict content in order to reduce the spread of misinformation, which has exposed them to multiple lawsuits.

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Restriction on artificial intelligence

On the other hand, technological observers argue that Twitter’s aim in taking this step is to limit artificial intelligence companies’ access to information on the platform. They noted that ChatGPT, which they cited as an example in this context, currently has full access to the platform and receives the information there without paying any fees. Therefore, because of these restrictions, ChatGPT will have to pay huge sums of money to access content, which means additional revenue for Twitter.

Simply put, the mechanism of social media platforms is based on the principle that the higher the engagement, the higher the percentage of advertising and therefore the higher the revenue. Therefore, imposing restrictions on Twitter in terms of reading or consuming content means that users will have very limited interaction and less advertising will be shown to them. This would have a significant negative impact on the platform’s revenue. But taking action against fake accounts is far more important than worrying about lawsuits against Twitter or advertising revenue.

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Fake accounts were and still are a part of social media platforms. Unfortunately, they have long been used to spread misinformation and fake news, especially during turbulent political times, during and before the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. They have been an important source for fueling various conflicts and spreading misinformation. Therefore, social media platforms are looking for different solutions to deal with these accounts and try to reduce the pressure on them.

It seems that Musk’s measures are Twitter’s new way of doing this. The number of content views for verified users was increased to 10,000, for unverified users to 1,000 and for new users to 500.

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