Skip to content

X slowed traffic to selected websites; backtracks after uproar

  • by
  • 3 min read
Photo: Bluecat_stock /

Photo: Bluecat_stock /

X, formerly known as Twitter, has come under scrutiny for allegedly throttling web traffic to specific websites that have previously drawn the ire of its owner, Elon Musk, including The New York Times, Instagram, Facebook, Bluesky, Threads, Reuters, and Substack.

This move by Musk has ignited debates about the potential misuse of the platform’s power and its implications for the freedom of information and healthy online competition.

The controversy emerged when users attempting to access various websites via X encountered an unusual delay of approximately five seconds before the web pages loaded. This calculated delay in accessing the websites raises concerns about the platform’s possible manipulation of web traffic to impact ad revenue and user engagement. Delays, no matter how brief, can lead to users growing impatient and choosing to navigate away from the page, harming the website’s traffic and profits.

The deliberate throttling appeared to target Musk’s perceived rivals. At the same time, major news organisations like YouTube and Fox News remained unaffected, deepening suspicions that the slowdown was rooted in personal biases rather than technological necessity.

“While we don’t know the rationale behind the application of this time delay, we would be concerned by targeted pressure applied to any news organization for unclear reasons,” said Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesperson from The Times to The Washington Post.

Photo: Phil Pasquini /
Elon Musk is regulating the platform to suit his personal agenda. | Photo: Phil Pasquini /

“Writers cannot build sustainable businesses if their connection to their audience depends on unreliable platforms that have proven they are willing to make changes that are hostile to the people who use them.”, said Substack’s co-founders Chris Bet, Hamish McKenzie and Jairaj Sethi in a statement.

Elon Musk has yet to come out with a response to counter these allegations. This incident is the latest example of the broader challenge surrounding the immense power social media platforms wield, allowing platform owners to shape online narratives and potentially stifle dissenting voices.

As per Techcrunch, X started reversing the process following the backlash.

All is not well with the platform since Elon Musk took over Twitter. To earn more money, Elon started Twitter Blue, a subscription service allowing more control to the subscribers. Twitter also started removing verified checkmarks from the accounts which refused to pay.

Elon also announced an updated API policy with a three-tiered structure. It seems that Elon Musk is regulating the platform for his agenda. The question arises of how much influence platform owners should exert on online discourse, especially when such actions could adversely affect diverse viewpoints and the overall health of the digital ecosystem.

In the News: Monti ransomware gang emerges with new tactics and variant


Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]