The social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, decided to delay the instant access to links from sources like Reuters, New York Times, as well as competitors such as Bluesky, Facebook, and Instagram, as detailed in a Washington Post report on Tuesday.
Upon clicking a link on X directing to any of the affected websites, a delay of roughly five seconds before the webpage loaded was observed. This lag was verified through tests carried out by the Washington Post, and Reuters also experienced a similar setback during their tests.
However, by late Tuesday afternoon, it appeared that X had eliminated the delay. When questioned about this, X acknowledged the removal of the delay but refrained from providing further insights.
Elon Musk, the billionaire who acquired Twitter in October, has previously criticized news establishments and journalists who’ve reported adversely on his enterprises, including Tesla and SpaceX. Twitter has also previously disallowed users from sharing links to rival social media platforms.
Reuters couldn’t precisely pinpoint when X initiated the practice of delaying links. However, on Tuesday, a user on Hacker News, a technological forum, shared information about the delay and pointed out that X instigated the delay for links to the New York Times on August 4th. Coincidentally, on that same day, Musk had criticized the newspaper’s coverage of South Africa, accusing it of endorsing calls for genocide. However, Reuters states they have no evidence to suggest a connection between these occurrences.
The spokesperson for the New York Times stated that they haven’t received any explanation from X regarding the delay in links.
“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,” the spokesperson stated.
Reuters also commented on the matter, stating they’re aware of the report and are currently investigating.
After Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform, Twitter (now X) has seen a lot of changes. These changes include requiring advertisers to have a verified checkmark or subscription, charging users for a blue verification checkmark, and expanding character limit for only Blue subscribers.
This situation has led to the emergence of several potential rivals. Bluesky launched its invite-only iOS app earlier this year in March. The other considerable rival is Meta’s Threads launched two months ago in June.
In addition, last week, X announced a partnership with IAS to provide new brand safety features.