Elon Musk claims Twitter’s new login requirement is a ‘temporary’ response to data scrapers

A Twitter engineer said the change would be reversed "in the near future."

POOL New / reuters

On early Friday afternoon, internet users began noticing that Twitter was no longer allowing people to view tweets if they weren’t signed into the service. At the time, it was hard to tell if the change was the result of a technical error or an intentional decision by the company’s leadership. Later in the day, however, Elon Musk addressed the issue.

“Temporary emergency measure,” he claimed in a tweet. “We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!” Musk subsequently shared more context. “Several hundred organizations (maybe more) were scraping Twitter data extremely aggressively, to the point where it was affecting the real user experience,” he said, replying to a tweet from Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney lamenting the “increasingly broken” state of the internet. In a separate tweet, spotted by Mashable, Twitter engineer Aqueel Miqdad said the company would re-enable logged-out access “in the near future.”

Of course, without more information, it’s hard to tell if Twitter users are experiencing degraded service because of the data scrapers Musk claims are targeting the platform so aggressively. There’s not a team at Twitter that Musk’s cost-cutting hasn’t touched. In fact, the group responsible for maintaining the stability of Twitter’s servers has seen its fair share of layoffs and high-profile departures. In June, the company had also not paid its Google Cloud contract for several months.