COLORADO SPRINGS — Many public information providers use Twitter as a primary platform to provide real-time updates about ongoing issues of public concern. Alongside phone calls, emails, emergency response scanners, and other social media platforms, it is just one of many ways that the News5 staff gathers information.
The platform has recently undergone a handful of changes since Elon Musk's purchase last year. The most recent change is a limit on how many tweets a user may view per day.
This issue does not only impact the public's ability to meet public information providers where they digitally stand, but it is impacting the provider's ability to receive and disseminate information. Such was the case with a recent disruption of data flow for the National Weather Service in Boulder amid active severe weather events.
Some of the most helpful referenced local accounts have included the Colorado Springs Police Department (@CSPDPIO), Colorado Springs Fire Department (@CSFDPIO), Colorado Springs Utilities (@CSUtilities), and Colorado Department of Transportation (@ColoradoDOT).
"Although, recently, we have seen a drop in our reach via [Twitter] posts, we will continue to post information [for] the community using all the platforms," said Robert Tornabene, the Senior Public Communications Specialist for the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), in an email.
Ashley Franco, the Colorado Springs Fire Department's (CSFD) Public Information Officer (PIO), said her organization has not experienced a difference in receiving or distributing information.
She did point out in an email that the CSFD PIO account is verified, which she said allows the department "a bit more freedoms ... to send and view more tweets."
The original tweet viewing limit was announced by Musk in a tweet on July 1.
To address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation, we’ve applied the following temporary limits:— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 1, 2023
- Verified accounts are limited to reading 6000 posts/day
- Unverified accounts to 600 posts/day
- New unverified accounts to 300/day
Musk increased the viewability of tweets twice after initially limiting them. Currently, the number of tweets users can view is:
- Unverified Accounts: 1,000 Posts/Day
- Verified Subscription Accounts: 10,000 Posts/Day
- Unverified New Accounts: 500 Posts/Day
After reaching their view limit, users will receive a message reading, "rate limit exceeded." No other tweet information is then provided for a period of time.
"It is our hope that this change by Twitter is temporary and will change soon," said Tornabene in an email.
Musk's information limitation would seem contrary to a statement made by the company in November of 2022.
Twitter’s mission is to promote and protect the public conversation--to be the town square of the internet.
The tweet viewing limit has already been met in multiple instances by News5 staff while trying to remain up to date with the latest information from agencies and first responders across Colorado.
Twitter's own Tweetdeck application, for aggregating information from fellow Twitter users to stay up to date, expedites the rate at which users meet the current limit.
The image below is from the first day of the tweet view limitation implementation.
Twitter announced that users will have to pay for verification to access TweetDeck by early August.
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
Despite the disruption to our normal workflows, the News5 team remains dedicated to finding and providing the very latest local information where our audience discovers it most conveniently.
It’s concerning because it seems to defeat the goal of a social media app. Why doesn’t Twitter want its users to be using its app as much as before? I’m ready to move to any one of the many competing apps, whichever one gets the most popular.— Dom (@DyviusDom) July 7, 2023
Others, meanwhile, said they plan to stick it out on Twitter and hope for change.
I'm still on Twitter but Threads is pretty cool too so we'll just have to see how it develops. Not looking good for Twitter tho.— Weston Hamilton (@westonh2030) July 7, 2023
It would seem that the recent changes, including Wednesday's early release of Threads, are causing many to begin considering their digital flagpoles, and where they may be able to expand their footprint.
"It is important to us to always look for new ways to interact with and inform our community. If, down the road, Threads or [another] social media [platform] looks to be a promising medium for communication we will update our respective partners," said Franco in an email.
News5 encourages our viewers and community members to meet us on legacy digital platforms like our website, app, streaming platforms, YouTube, Facebook page, and Instagram account, as well as new and emerging platforms as they develop and as we adapt.
"It is far [too] early to speculate if [CSPD will] add any more platforms to our current ones in use. We, however, will evaluate any addition or changes to our social media platforms by studying metrics, statistics, and the goals of the Colorado Springs Police Department," said Tornabene in an email.
Colorado Springs Fire Department is encouraging community members to sign up for emergency alerts at peakalerts.org.
Twitter or not, the news will continue and we will continue to bring you the latest.
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