Twitter client TweetDeck appears to be the latest victim of the company’s attempt to limit how many tweets users can read each day.
The Saturday before Easter is a holiday. Elon Musk announced that unverified Twitter accounts would be limited to reading only 600 tweets per day “to address extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation”.
That limit appears to have been relaxed over the course of the weekend, with fewer users reporting that they’ve exceeded the rate limit, but not everything is back to normal. TweetDeck, a Twitter client that is used by many professionals, has suffered collateral damage.
Since the implementation of rate limits, many people have noticed that columns with mentions, Likes, or other information, are blank. As shown in this example.
Twitter Deck Damage
TweetDeck can be very useful for professional social media users. It allows you to monitor activity across several accounts simultaneously and is one of the few Twitter clients that doesn’t display promoted tweets, which have become increasingly common in recent weeks.
What’s more, TweetDeck isn’t constantly trying to force users to adopt the ‘for you’ view where displayed content is prioritized by Twitter’s algorithms. It simply displays each timeline chronologically, so that it is easier to track breaking news.
TweetDeck’s ability to show dozens of tweets simultaneously, with multiple timelines updating in real time, means it likely places higher demand on Twitter’s servers than the regular Twitter apps and may be one reason why Twitter has decided to disable parts of the app.
Twitter’s Forgotten App?
TweetDeck, owned by Twitter and managed by them, has not seen much development in the last couple of years. In fact, the standalone version was removed last year and it is only available via a web application.
TweetDeck, however, is due to receive a much-needed update. @TweetDeck’s own Twitter status saying: “a new & improved TweetDeck…coming soon.”
The TweetDeck website confirms that “we’re currently testing a new version of TweetDeck with a limited number of people globally.
“This preview of an improved version of TweetDeck offers enhanced functionality and incorporates more of what you see on twitter.com. Participants in the TweetDeck preview can expect features such as a Tweet Composer with a complete Tweet, Advanced Search features and new columns. We’re also introducing Decks—a new way to group columns into clean workspaces.”
Twitter’s Rate Limit Problem
While Elon Musk continues to point the finger at aggressive web scrapers for Twitter’s problems, others are suggesting that the site’s troubles may be self-inflicted.
Writing on alternative social network Mastodon, developer Sheldon Chang claims Twitter’s own code is hammering the site with requests for content. “This is hilarious,” Chang writes. “It appears that Twitter is DDOSing itself.” A DDOS is a distributed denial of service attack, where bad actors try to bring websites down by flooding them with millions of junk requests.
Chang shared videos of Twitter making repeated requests to load content. “Twitter is firing off about 10 requests a second to itself to try and fetch content that never arrives because Elon’s latest genius innovation is to block people from being able to read Twitter without logging in,” Chang adds.
“This likely created some hellish conditions that the engineers never envisioned and so we get this comedy of errors resulting in the most epic of self-owns, the self-DDOS. Unbelievable. It’s amateur hour.”
Musk fired thousands of Twitter engineers in the last few months to reduce costs for his newly acquired social network.
Those cuts include the media relations team, and so we’re unable to reach out to anyone at Twitter for comment on these allegations.