Twitter — sorry, uh, X — owner Elon Musk is making it more difficult to access content via external links on the social media platform by literally slowing the speed with which users get redirected.
The sites that are affected are unsurprisingly X's competitors and reputable news sources that Musk has a personal bone to pick with, including the New York Times, Reuters, Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky, and Substack, the Washington Post reports.
It's exactly the kind of move you'd expect from Musk, further pulling the platform away from being a useful — albeit flawed — place to access the news. It's especially concerning considering that Musk's many changes to the platform have turned it into a reliable source on the internet for disinformation and propaganda — nevermind comically undermining his big talk about free speech.
As a result of this latest change, anybody who clicks a link to any of these sites on X will have to wait an additional five seconds. While that doesn't sound egregious on the face of it, it certainly doesn't encourage users to access actually-reliable news sources.
"Delays are annoying enough, even subconsciously, to drive people away," Twitter's former head of safety Yoel Roth posted on Bluesky.
Musk has history with the targeted sites, accusing them of being critical of him and his businesses. In April, he accused the NYT of being "hypocritical" and publishing a stream of "diarrhea," after the newspaper refused to pay for verification on the platform.
The mercurial CEO also lashed out at the newspaper earlier this month over a report about the far-right backlash to an old South African anti-apartheid song.
For instance, earlier this week, Musk threatened to show up at his doorstep in Palo Alto — despite knowing he wasn't home — to challenge him to a fight in his backyard.
Long story short, his decision to punish reputable news sources and competitors shouldn't surprise anybody. Ever since Musk took over the platform last year, the damage to the site has been palpable.
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