According to a report from Search Engine Roundtable, Twitter has introduced a new procedure to make tweets visible to unregistered users and ensure their indexing by Google. This unintentional consequence arose from the tweet-viewing restrictions implemented by Twitter recently.
“Twitter made a change in the past 24 hours or so that now Google and unregistered users can see the tweet, but there is a modal that overlays asking users to sign up for Twitter. That means Google Search can now crawl and render tweets and see the content in the tweet, thus index it and ultimately rank that content,” reports SER.
On the previous Friday, Twitter took a controversial step to address data scrapers by blocking non-logged in users from accessing tweets. Instead, visitors were prompted to sign up and log in to the app. This action foreshadowed Twitter’s even more controversial decision to impose limits on the number of tweets users can view within a specific time period, causing uproar among Twitter users.
Unfortunately, this restriction also unintentionally affected Google’s crawlers, leading to a significant decrease in the appearance of tweets in search engine results pages (SERPs). And it’s a crucial source of traffic for the app.
Recognizing the issue, Twitter has now rectified the situation while simultaneously introducing new tweet viewing restrictions to align with their anti-scraping efforts.
These newly imposed limits on tweet viewing, which Twitter claims to be temporary, aim to prevent generative AI projects from scraping tweet data to power their conversational models.
Several hundred organizations (maybe more) were scraping Twitter data extremely aggressively, to the point where it was affecting the real user experience.
What should we do to stop that? I’m open to ideas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 30, 2023
Twitter and Reddit have become prime targets for information gathering. They are taking measures to safeguard their data from large language model (LLM) projects. However, these actions do come with unintended consequences.
One immediate effect is that restricting user activity will naturally limit overall usage. This is a vital driver for Twitter’s advertising business. Additionally, preventing non-users from viewing tweets will also impact this usage. Twitter’s own data indicates that 40% of its activity comes from “logged out guests.”
The exact approach Twitter will take to address this issue remains unclear. However, it is actively working on new measures to restrict tweet access while still facilitating broader tweet viewing and engagement. Ensuring that tweets remain indexed by Google is a crucial consideration in this process. It will be interesting to observe whether Twitter can devise similar solutions to regulate content viewing effectively.