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X appears to slow down load times for connections to various news providers and competing platforms.

On Tuesday, there were apparent delays or throttling in the loading times of links to several Twitter competitors and news media sites on X, the social media network formerly known as Twitter.

Observations indicate that the loading speeds for links posted on X, which pointed users to various websites such as the New York speeds, Reuters, Facebook, Substack, and X’s competitors Bluesky and Threads, had a noticeable delay of approximately 5 seconds. This delay is in contrast to the typically rapid loading rates that are practically instantaneous. Several other websites, like NBA.com and the retailer Target, did not seem to be impacted by the aforementioned issue.

The occurrences of delays were initially documented by individuals participating in the technology-focused online community known as Hacker News.

The cause of the delays in loading links to certain websites was not readily apparent. The website has seen a series of technological challenges subsequent to its acquisition by Musk in the previous year, which coincided with a significant reduction in workforce. By Tuesday afternoon, it appeared that the problem had been rectified for certain users.

Nevertheless, the delays had an impact on the websites of competing platforms, as well as news organizations that have been subject to criticism by Elon Musk, the proprietor of Twitter. Earlier this year, Musk engaged in a dispute with the New York Times on their refusal to compensate for his platform’s recently introduced paid verification scheme. Additionally, he has expressed his desire for the media to face consequences and be “cancelled.”

The observed latency in accessing hyperlinks leading to the New York Times was readily confirmed by straightforward computer commands. The loading time of the New York Times website was compared to that of a dummy website by cybersecurity researcher Will Dormann, who utilized a basic command application on his Macintosh computer. According to Dormann, the duration of the loading process for the New York Times website was around 4.5 seconds greater.

X, similar to other platforms, utilizes a link-shortening tool to gather data pertaining to users who engage with links shared on the network. According to Dormann, if a New York Times article link that is processed through X’s link-shortening service takes significantly more time to load compared to other websites utilizing the same service, it strongly suggests the presence of manipulative activities on the server side of the X-operated shortener.

According to a statement issued by The New York Times, the organization acknowledged the occurrence of the delay. However, it was noted that no clarification or reasoning for this action has been provided by the platform in question.

The statement expressed concern on the use of a time delay, acknowledging the lack of understanding regarding the underlying rationale. The statement further emphasized the apprehension towards any form of targeted pressure exerted on news organizations without clear and transparent justifications. The primary objective of The New York Times is to provide unbiased news coverage, free from any form of bias or preference. The organization remains committed to fulfilling this aim, regardless of any efforts made to impede its progress.

The delay was not addressed by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Threads, in response to a request for comment. However, the Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, provided a response to a post regarding the matter on the platform called Threads, with a facial expression emoji that signifies contemplation.

In recent weeks, there have been discussions between Musk and Zuckerberg over a potential confrontation in a controlled environment. However, Zuckerberg has recently expressed doubt about the seriousness of Musk’s intentions, suggesting that the proposed fight may not go as initially anticipated. In a recent statement on Threads, Zuckerberg expressed that Elon Musk has been unwilling to provide a definitive timeframe, subsequently citing the need for surgery, and has now proposed conducting a trial run in Zuckerberg’s backyard. On Monday, Musk seemingly indicated his intention to engage in physical confrontation with Zuckerberg by implying through a series of tweets that he may go visit Zuckerberg’s residence.

According to a statement made by Substack cofounders Chris Best, Hamish McKenzie, and Jairaj Sethi, it is their aspiration that X will rectify the postponement. They further assert that the establishment of Substack was a direct reaction to the actions exhibited by social media corporations.

According to the cofounders of Substack, writers face challenges in establishing viable enterprises when their relationship with their audience is contingent upon capricious platforms that have demonstrated a propensity for implementing alterations that are antagonistic towards their users.

According to a statement issued by Reuters, the organization acknowledges the existence of concerns regarding a potential delay in accessing hyperlinks leading to Reuters articles on X. We are currently investigating the issue at hand.

Bluesky’s response to the inquiry regarding the delay in link establishment was not promptly provided.

In December, X faced a brief period of criticism due to the implementation of a policy that prohibited the sharing of hyperlinks to competing social media platforms, including as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter alternatives like Mastodon. However, this decision was subsequently rescinded. The platform has seen a number of outages and technical difficulties in recent months, which have had an impact on users’ capacity to access tweets, view images, and navigate through links. These challenges arose following Musk’s reduction of the company’s workforce and decreased investment in infrastructure.

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