Twitter users around the world have reported being unable to tweet or follow other accounts because of a bug linked to new limits on user activity on the platform.
On Wednesday users began reporting seeing 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 it had introduced the limits to help 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 Twitter has set.
Similar restrictions have traditionally been used to protect against large-scale spam campaigns, stopping inauthentic accounts from tweeting messages and trying to follow other accounts relentlessly.
However, a page on Twitter’s online help centre shows the Elon Musk-owned platform is now introducing limits for all users, it says as part of efforts to “alleviate some of the strain on the behind-the-scenes part of Twitter and reduce downtime and error pages”.
The page says that 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 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.
The limits also say that an account 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”.
Since taking over Twitter at the end of October and dismissing more than half of the platform’s 7,500-strong global workforce, experts have raised questions about the ability of Musk and the now skeleton staff in some departments to keep the social media giant online.
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”.