Bluesky Pauses Sign-Ups Amid Traffic Surge Following Twitter Rate Limit
In the wake of Twitter's recent data limit crisis and the subsequent spike in traffic to its platform, Bluesky, a decentralized Twitter-like social network is grappling with performance issues. The surge in visitors seeking alternatives to Twitter has placed a strain on Bluesky's infrastructure, prompting the platform to temporarily pause sign-ups.
The Data Limit Crisis: Twitter's Battle with Scrapers
Twitter's battle against "data scraping" and "system manipulation" reached a tipping point when the company's CEO, Elon Musk, announced rate limits on the number of tweets users could view, per Fox Business. The action was taken as a measure to curb what Musk referred to as "extreme levels" of data scraping, which severely impacted the user experience on the platform. Initially set at 6,000 posts per day for verified accounts and 600 posts per day for unverified accounts, the rate limits were later adjusted to 10,000 for verified users and 1,000 for unverified users.
As a result of the imposed rate limits, users encountered error messages such as "Rate limit exceeded" or "Unable to load tweets," hindering their typical usage patterns. Frustrated by the limitations, users sought alternatives, leading to a massive surge in traffic to Bluesky, a promising contender in the social media landscape.
Bluesky's Performance Challenges and Response
Bluesky, backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, witnessed an unprecedented influx of visitors, causing "degraded performance" on the platform due to record-high traffic. Users experienced slow-loading posts, and the platform's status page acknowledged the existence of performance issues. The situation prompted Bluesky to take swift action and temporarily pause new sign-ups.
In a post addressing the situation, Bluesky conveyed its commitment to resolving the performance issues and keeping users updated on the resumption of invite code functionality. Despite the setbacks, the platform remained enthusiastic about welcoming more users to its beta testing phase shortly.
Bluesky engineer Paul Frazee revealed that the team was actively working on deploying mobile app updates to alleviate the performance woes. However, burgeoning social media platforms experiencing sudden surges in traffic is not uncommon but such challenges also egg them on to work towards optimizing their infrastructure to accommodate growing user bases.
Bluesky Is Not Alone; Mastodon Is Also Facing Popularity Surge
Bluesky's experience was not unique in the face of Twitter's data limit crisis. Mastodon, another decentralized social media platform, also witnessed a significant spike in users. Mastodon garnered over 26,000 new accounts in just one day, showcasing the widespread impact of Twitter's limitations on the broader social media landscape, according to a tracker. The platform's user base went up from about 300,000 monthly active users to 2.5 million between October and November 2022, per The Verge.
Root Cause: AI Companies and Data Scraping
Elon Musk pointed to the root cause of the excessive data scraping plaguing Twitter—AI companies using the platform's data to train their models. The prevalence of data scraping across numerous companies, from startups to industry giants, necessitated emergency server deployments to handle the influx of requests and such data scraping drove the valuation of certain AI startups to unjustifiable levels. An excerpt from Musk's tweet reads, "It is rather galling to have to bring large numbers of servers online on an emergency basis just to facilitate some AI startup’s outrageous valuation."
Bluesky's Future Prospects
Bluesky ended their announcement post about the temporary pause in sign-ups, saying, “We’ll keep you updated when invite codes will resume functionality. We’re excited to welcome more users to our beta soon!” As an invite-only beta testing phase, Bluesky had already amassed over 50,000 users by April 2023, per BNN Breaking, showcasing its potential appeal to those seeking a decentralized and censorship-resistant social media experience. Bluesky's performance issues and the current halt in sign-ups may hinder its immediate growth but the platform's focus on optimizing its infrastructure suggests a commitment to long-term success.
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