(Paris) Nine months after taking power at Twitter, Elon Musk has once again offended his users by limiting the free use of the social network without notice, a decision against the industry trend, which his competitors are trying to To take advantage of.
The Meta group of its rival Mark Zuckerberg, parent company of Facebook, presented this week its new Threads application, which aims to compete head-on with Twitter.
The official launch of this application, described on the Apple store as “Instagram’s app for text conversations”, is expected Thursday in the United States.
The Bluesky project, led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and accessible by invitation, is also trying to get noticed with a more decentralized approach.
If they have yet to prove their real popularity, these initiatives all intend to take advantage of the deterioration of Twitter’s image since its acquisition last year for 44 billion dollars.
The blue bird network once again aroused strong reactions last week by choosing to restrict the reading of tweets to 10,000 per day for verified accounts, therefore paying, 1000 for others and even 500 for new accounts. , ceilings already raised twice in a few days.
The stated objective is to limit the massive use of social network data by third parties, in particular companies, thus feeding their artificial intelligence models.
“It disrupted ordinary use” by Internet users, according to Elon Musk, who also ended the day before the possibility of consulting tweets without logging in and identifying themselves. Many users complained that some features were unusable.
On Tuesday, the social network hit the nail on the head by announcing that it would reserve its TweetDeck application, widely used by information professionals, for certified, and therefore paying, accounts within a month.
“The trajectory of the platforms has been entirely built on their ability to provide stable and reliable service without limits of use”, recalls John Wihbey, professor at Northeastern University (United States). What just happened “seems like a flip-flop,” he said.
Through layoffs and cost reductions, “it has long been expected that the platform’s infrastructure will deteriorate to the point that it becomes unusable or that malfunctions drive users away”, continues the academic.
When Elon Musk took over Twitter in October, “people were willing to leave for ethical reasons,” he recalls. “Today Musk is giving them technical reasons. »
“This is one more reason why advertisers are going to spend their social media budgets elsewhere,” argues Mike Proulx of Forrester. Brands “depend on their audience and interactions (with users),” he recalls. “But Twitter is ravaging both. »
“How are you going to explain to Twitter advertisers that users may potentially not see your ads because of usage restrictions?” “Questioned, on his account, Justin Taylor, former social network and now vice-president of the WWE professional wrestling league.
This new announcement is all the more damaging as it gave the impression that Elon Musk is still alone at the helm, while a new chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, took office almost a month ago. , largely in an attempt to reassure advertisers.
Finally, the restrictions applied by Twitter complicate the lives of researchers who analyze the behavior of users of the social network, and in particular study the spread of misinformation.
Even if Twitter still remains a “more open” network than its competitors, “it becomes extremely complicated to do this legally with publishable data”, explains to AFP Florent Lefebvre, French specialist in the analysis of data from social networks.
And according to him, the limitations “annoy the general public”, but companies specializing in data mining have already found workarounds, including multiplying the number of accounts they use.