X Allegedly Throttles Traffic to Disliked Websites: Controversy Strikes Again

In an eyebrow-raising move, X, previously known as Twitter, is being accused of slowing down traffic to websites Elon Musk, the owner of the platform, publicly dislikes. Websites including The New York Times, Instagram, Facebook, Bluesky, Threads, Reuters, and Substack experienced a notable five-second delay when users attempted to access links via X. This delay was first noted by users on the Hacker News forum and reported by The Washington Post.

By deliberately impeding access to these sites, X and Musk may have affected their traffic and ad revenue, as even small delays can lead to user frustration and decreased engagement. Notably, major news organizations like YouTube and Fox News remained unaffected.

Experts pointed out that even a 1-second delay can cause users to lose interest, impacting bounce rates and time spent on the linked site. This strategy, driven by personal preferences, could potentially lead users away from certain platforms, affecting their overall reach.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to the situation with a “thinking face emoji,” adding another layer of intrigue to the ongoing feud between Musk and Zuckerberg. This controversy isn’t the first instance of Musk allowing his personal feelings to influence Twitter’s actions; he has previously blocked links to competitors and revoked verification check marks from organizations he criticizes.

The move underscores the complex relationship between social media platforms, their owners, and the potential consequences for freedom of information and impartiality in the digital realm.

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