Unless you've been hiding under a rock this weekend, you will know that Twitter CEO Elon Musk said Saturday that the social media platform will limit how many tweets users can read due to “extreme” levels of system manipulation and data scraping.
Musk said in a statement that Twitter has applied the following temporary limits on users, with new unverified accounts limited to reading just 600 posts per day.
In yet another exercise in irony, this post achieved a record view count!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 2, 2023
Claiming the sudden change is being implemented to combat “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation,” Musk said the daily restrictions would eventually be raised to 8,000 posts for verified users, 800 for unverified accounts, and 400 for new unverified users.
Immediately, the socials came alive with claims of 'free speech' suppression etc...
Putting hard limits on reads is web 1.0 stuff.— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) July 1, 2023
But the irony went to '11'...
If dying from irony were possible, it would’ve been be a massacre— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 2, 2023
So they want 'more' twitter not less? But we thought it was a cesspool of nazi porn?
Musk said at the time that hundreds of organizations or more were scraping Twitter data “extremely aggressively,” with a negative impact on user experience.
However, there may be more to this than 'user experience' deterioration, or an effort by Musk force more monetization.
Musk hinted at the 'other' reason in April, when he threatened to sue Microsoft, which has invested billions into OpenAI, after accusing the company of using Twitter data for training.
“They trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time,” Musk wrote on Twitter on April 19.
Which brings us to Mike Benz's excellent discussion this morning of what may really be going on behind the scenes, that yet again - the world's richest man could be the only one uncancellable enough to battle.
Benz begins his trek with the statement: "AI censorship is where all of the magic happens."
He points out, the Twitter Files showed how The FBI might come in and get 22 tweets censored, but AI is how IEP (and other 3rd-party censorship groups) were able to get 22 million tweets censored."
Before 2016, Benz explains, you could not 'control' the internet; but since then, there has been an "AI Censorship Deathstar" under construction, which "relies on massive scraping of Twitter data to track trending narratives, to systemically surveil, to build intelligence dossiers, and to track and turn down - all at one - communities online."
Twitter is the best social network of all for this massive data scraping (and training) since all consumers of information are also creators.
This explicitly makes scraping data there far more important for early narrative detection and countering 'wrongthink' via fact-checking, Google Ad suppression, political pressure (possibly enforcing hate speech laws like Michigan just passed), or mainstream media propaganda focus.
Also, on the other side, while Musk appears to have got the 'Trust & Safety' censors/bannner/throttlers out of the loop, this massive data scrape allows any establishment-favored narratives to be amplified.
And it appears to be working as ChatGPT admitted it was unable to access real-time tweets this morning...
NEWS: It looks like ChatGPT's web browser extension can no longer access Twitter's data. https://t.co/jv0jgIQ9w3— T(w)itter Daily News (@TitterDaily) July 2, 2023
Which apparently pleased Musk...
Elon reacts to this news: https://t.co/tqab98Oice— T(w)itter Daily News (@TitterDaily) July 2, 2023
So - is this just another money-making scheme for Twitter; or is Musk really the world's last best hope for 'freedom' of speech.
"You are going to see the censorship industry howl over this," Benz concludes, and "whether Musk knows it or not, he has stepped on a rattlesnake."
While the censorship-industry will "in a wierd way, while the boot [of Musk's tweet-read-limit] may be cutting off some amount of openness of Twitter, it may also represent in some way, the boot of freedom."
Watch the full Benz clip below:
Wow. Musk has no idea the DARPA rattlesnake he just stepped on by this doing this…— Mike Benz (@MikeBenzCyber) July 1, 2023
My take on @elonmusk’s new rate limit policy, from the lens of the censorship industry: https://t.co/AZ5SPIgHiz pic.twitter.com/Rw4KBZsT9O
Finally, one wonders did Musk's move just nuke the AI-stock-boom's 100x forward-revenue-multiple case?