Elon Musk’s Twitter/X is causing a stir as it has been revealed that the platform was intentionally slowing down links to certain sites that Musk has criticized in the past. When users clicked on links to Facebook, The New York Times, and other sites, they would experience delays of about five seconds before being transferred to the desired site. However, after The Washington Post published an article exposing this practice, Twitter seemingly put an end to the delays. Other affected sites included BlueSky, Substack, Instagram, and Reuters, all of which Musk has spoken critically about in the past. This revelation has raised questions about the platform’s commitment to free speech and user experience.
The delays were noticed on links that used Twitter’s t.co link-shortening service, which allows the platform to monitor users’ destinations when they click away from Twitter. While five seconds may not seem like much, it can feel like an eternity for web surfers. In fact, a 2016 Google study found that over half of mobile users would give up trying to access a site if it took longer than three seconds to load. This raises eyebrows considering Musk’s previous criticisms of the affected sites. It remains to be seen why Twitter would choose to annoy its users in this way, as noted by Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety. This incident adds to Musk’s history of meddling with users he doesn’t agree with on the platform, such as his ban on the jet tracking tool that revealed his travel locations.
Elon Musk’s Twitter/X Caught Throttling Links to Criticized Sites
Users who clicked on links to certain websites from Elon Musk’s Twitter account, known as Twitter/X, experienced delays of approximately five seconds before being redirected to the desired sites. The affected websites included Facebook, The New York Times, BlueSky, Substack, Instagram, and Reuters. Interestingly, Musk has previously criticized all of these sites. After The Washington Post published an article shedding light on this practice, Twitter/X seemingly reversed course and eliminated the delays.
The T.co Link-Shortening Service and Monitoring User Activity
The delays in question were observed on links that utilized the t.co link-shortening service, which allows Twitter/X to monitor users’ activities when they click away from the site. While five seconds may not seem like much time, it can feel like an eternity for web surfers. In fact, a 2016 Google study revealed that 53% of mobile users would give up accessing a site if it took longer than three seconds to load. This makes Musk’s previous criticisms of the affected sites even more noteworthy.
User Frustration and Twitter’s Response
The delays caused frustration among users, prompting questions about the reasoning behind this practice. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, expressed his bewilderment, stating, "This is one of those things that seems too crazy to be true, even for Twitter until you see it inexplicably take five seconds for Chrome to receive 650 bytes of data. Why annoy users like this?" When Fortune reached out to Twitter/X for comment, the company responded with a new auto-reply to media inquiries, replacing its previous poop emoji autoreply.
Musk’s History of Interfering on Twitter
Elon Musk has a history of interfering with users he disagrees with on Twitter. One of the most famous instances was when he banned a jet tracking tool that alerted people to his travel locations. This recent revelation adds to the pattern of Musk exerting his influence on the platform.
In conclusion, Elon Musk’s Twitter/X was discovered to be throttling links to certain sites that Musk has criticized in the past. Users experienced delays when clicking on links to websites such as Facebook and The New York Times. The practice was exposed by The Washington Post, leading Twitter/X to seemingly abandon the delays. Other impacted sites included BlueSky, Substack, Instagram, and Reuters. The delays occurred through the t.co link-shortening service, which allows Twitter/X to monitor user activity. Musk’s previous criticisms of these sites make the situation all the more intriguing.