In a twist of events, it appears that Instagram Threads, the latest rival to Twitter, has encountered the need to enforce rate limits due to spam attacks. Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, responded to the announcement with amusement, commenting, “Lmao Copy 🐈 [cat].” This comes after Twitter recently had to impose limits on the number of tweets users could view during a service outage caused by data scraping and system manipulation.
Initially, Twitter set limits allowing Verified users to view up to 6,000 posts daily, while unverified users could only access 600. Following user backlash, Musk revised the limits to 10,000 for Verified accounts, 1,000 for unverified accounts, and 500 for new, unverified accounts. Over the weekend, Musk further increased the rate limit for Verified users by 50%, raising it to 15,000 posts.
Criticism arose regarding Twitter’s approach to combatting spam and bots, with some suggesting that the issue wouldn’t have been as severe if Twitter had not downsized its engineering staff. Previously, the inability to scroll through the Twitter timeline for extended periods had not been a problem in the pre-Elon Musk era, except during the early years when the fail whale was a frequent sight.
Interestingly, it seems that even Meta’s new app, Instagram Threads, is not immune to the challenges posed by bots and spam. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, addressed the problem in a post on the Threads app, acknowledging that spam attacks have escalated, necessitating tighter controls such as rate limits. This adjustment may inadvertently affect legitimate users (false positives). Mosseri encouraged affected users to reach out for assistance, indicating the Threads team’s willingness to work with them to avoid negatively impacting their experience.
While Mosseri did not provide specific details on how the rate limits would impact users, he signaled that the Threads team is prepared to address any issues encountered. In contrast to Twitter’s fixed limits, Mosseri’s suggestion implies a more flexible approach that aims to work collaboratively with users and address problems on an individual basis.
Responses to Mosseri’s announcement revealed several complaints about an increase in comment spam on the platform, with users reporting an influx of bots promoting gambling or leaving “bait” messages. Users expressed frustration, with some stating that they were spending a significant amount of time blocking bots promoting gambling and cryptocurrency sites.
If the issue of bots and spam is not addressed effectively, Threads may face a situation similar to that of Twitter. The ironic resemblance between the two platforms becomes apparent, leading to the notion of copying each other’s challenges.