Twitter users have reported being unable to tweet or follow other accounts due to a bug linked to new limits on user activity.
On Wednesday (8 February) users around the world reported a message saying “rate limit exceeded” – meaning they had hit the site’s limit for the number of tweets or new accounts followed within a certain time period.
Twitter said the rate limits were introduced to ease the strain on the site and help it run more smoothly, but many users have reported seeing rate limit exceeded messages well below the levels set by the platform.
Similar restrictions have traditionally been used to protect against large-scale spam campaigns in a move to stop inauthentic accounts from tweeting messages and trying to follow other accounts relentlessly.
A page on Twitter’s online help centre shows the social media site is now introducing limits for all users as part of efforts to “alleviate some of the strain on the behind-the-scenes part of Twitter and reduce downtime and error pages”.
Accounts will now be limited to sending 500 direct messages (DMs) a day, sending 2,400 tweets a day – including retweets – and following 400 new accounts each day.
The limits also mean users will only be allowed to follow 5,000 other accounts, with “additional follow attempts” after that threshold has been reached being “limited by account-specific ratios”.
The help centre says that the daily tweet limit is “further broken down in semi-hourly intervals”, which may have caused the issue for some prolific Twitter users who saw the “rate limit exceeded” message.
Since taking over Twitter at the end of October and dismissing more than half of the platform’s 7,500-strong global workforce, questions have been raised over the ability of CEO Elon Musk and the now skeleton staff in some departments to keep the social media giant online.
Mr Musk has mocked such suggestions, but these new restrictions suggest there are some concerns inside Twitter about the platform’s ability to handle high traffic rates.
The help page also says that these new limits “may be temporarily reduced during periods of heavy site usage”
The incident comes as another major Musk-backed change to Twitter begins to roll out, with the introduction of a 4,000-character limit on tweets for subscribers to the paid-for Twitter Blue service.
The new limit will allow subscribers to post tweets substantially longer than those under the current 280-character limit, although some argue such long posts are against the original spirit of the site.