Twitter restricts number of tweets people can see; facing legal action over unpaid bills
Image credit: Foto 246233086 / Elon Musk © Vladyslav Yushynov | Dreamstime.com
An Australian project management firm is seeking over A$1m (£525,000) for services supplied in four countries, for which Twitter is accused of never having paid.
The news of the lawsuit broke one day after Twitter owner Elon Musk revealed its plan to begin restricting the number of tweets people can see in a day to 6,000, sparking criticism from users and advertisers.
Musk said Twitter had imposed the “temporary limit” to “address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation”.
The announcement followed complaints of users being unable to access the site from 12pm onwards on Saturday, only seeing a message that read “Rate limit exceeded. Please wait a few moments then try again”, which led to '#Twitterdown' and 'RIP Twitter' to begin trending on the platform.
Adam Leon Smith of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, said it is “very odd to start rate-limiting the reading of a social network”, as limiting users’ scroll time “will affect advertising revenue”.
Musk has not specified when the limits may be increased or for how long the restrictions will be in place.
Only a day after the technical difficulties, Australia's Facilitate Corp. filed a suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District Of California, claiming that Twitter had failed to pay its invoices for the installation of sensors in the company's London and Dublin offices, as well as the clearing of a Sydney office and the completion of an office fit-out in Singapore.
The firm said Twitter owed Facilitate around £203,000, A$61,300 and S$546,600 respectively (calculated in local currencies).
The Australian firm is far from the only company to allege Twitter has failed to pay its bills since the company was purchased by Elon Musk in 2022, as pointed out by Facilitate in the court documents.
In May, a former public relations firm sued Twitter for failing to pay its bills and, earlier this year, Innisfree M&A Inc sued the company for $1.9m in unpaid bills related to Musk's acquisition. In January, the UK's Crown Estate began court proceedings over alleged unpaid rent on Twitter's London headquarters.
“Twitter responded with a campaign of extreme belt-tightening that amounted to requiring nearly everyone to whom it owes money to sue,” Facilitate said in the filing.
“Twitter stopped paying rent on some of its offices and stopped paying several vendors whose services it was still using. Twitter also cancelled many contracts and stopped paying people to whom it owes money.”
Musk took over Twitter in November 2022, after finalising his $44bn (£38bn) takeover of the company. Since then, Musk has overseen a series of controversial changes within the company, including dissolving the company’s board of directors; making significant changes to the platform’s content moderation policies, and firing 80 per cent of the company’s workers along with a number of additional contractors.
Twitter was recently renamed X Corp, according to court filings. Before acquiring the social media company, Musk had tweeted that buying Twitter would speed up his ambition to create an “everything app” called “X”.
The Twitter saga has also impacted Musk’s other businesses and raised concerns over his management style and his ability to pay interest on the $13bn (£11bn) debt he took on to buy it.
In May, Elon Musk announced he had found a new chief executive to take over the running of Twitter, namely Linda Yaccarino, NBC Universal’s former global head of advertising.
Twitter no longer has a press department and any requests for comment sent to the formal e-mail contact receive a poop emoji as an auto-reply.
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