Twitter Implements New Restrictions on Non-Logged-in Users from Accessing Tweets

  • Ethan Smith
  • 01 Jul 2023

In a significant shift, Twitter is reportedly blocking non-logged-in users from viewing tweets. This development is part of a broader effort to prevent data scrapers from accessing tweet information. Tweets can still be embedded and appear in Google Search, offering non-account holders some ways to view tweets outside the Twitter app, but Twitter seems to be ramping up its efforts to encourage log-ins and limit unauthorized third-party access.

This move may be specifically aimed at one company, OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT. Twitter had previously withdrawn OpenAI's access to its API due to the latter's use of tweets to fuel its AI models. Elon Musk, Twitter's owner and an early investor in OpenAI, has expressed dissatisfaction with OpenAI for benefiting from his investment without yielding any returns. He has also criticized ChatGPT for being 'too woke', fuelling his interest in developing his own generative AI model, 'TruthGPT'.

In response to Musk's grievances, Twitter has increased the cost of its API access points and restricted tweet searches to logged-in users. It now appears that Twitter is taking a more significant step by blocking non-logged-in users from viewing tweets. While this change currently only affects web users, there are reports that the restriction will be extended to mobile users in the coming weeks.

The question arises, why is this move considered so important? According to Twitter’s EU disclosure, roughly 40% of its European users access the platform as 'logged out guests'. If this statistic applies globally, a significant number of people would be affected, potentially causing a substantial shift in Twitter's role in the larger news ecosystem. However, this change may prompt more users to sign up, potentially increasing Twitter's daily active users and revenue.

In response to criticism, Musk has stated that this is a temporary measure. Whether this was always intended to be a temporary move or is a reaction to the potential impact remains unclear. Regardless, this is a considerable move by Twitter, and it will be interesting to see how it affects the overall platform usage and Twitter's position in the digital news landscape.

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