Facebook Instagram If you thought that your connections from X, the site formerly known as Twitter, to Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky, Substack, Reuters and the New York Times had become a bit slow, it was not a figment of your imagination. The Washington Post discovered that X was delaying connections to these sites by five seconds.
And five seconds is an eternity on the Internet.
One eyelash flutter — 400 milliseconds for technicians — is enough to annoy most users. According to the consulting company Hobo SEO, it is enough for a two-second delay in the loading time for 87% of users to abandon a link.
A real commercial poison
That is why there is a whole sector specialized in speeding up connection times. These are CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), with companies such as Akamai, CloudFlare and Fastly. Their mission is to ensure that your pages load in less than half a second.
What X has done to these sites is a real commercial poison. As Sander van Surksum, web performance consultant at Iron/Out, has written, “for companies, such intentional slowdowns can be catastrophic In a digital landscape where every second counts, a platform as influential as “X” which holds the reins of user access can radically modify web traffic and, consequently, turnover”.
To do this, X has implemented a slowdown of its link shortening service, t.co . Whenever you click on a link on X, it is first processed by t.co . Like most link shortening services, t.co . is used – normally – to facilitate the management of Internet traffic and to keep track of you on the web. We now know that a site like X can also use it to slow down traffic to a targeted website. To my knowledge, no social network has ever done this before.
It seems that X has been doing this with some sites for weeks. This practice was first reported when a user was confronted with this delay while trying to access a Meta Threads link shortly after the opening of the new social network.
On Ycombinator, another user there said: “Go to Twitter and click on a link leading to any URL on ‘NYTimes.com ‘ or ‘threads.net ‘ and you will see a delay of about 5 seconds before t.co does redirect you to the correct address”. Twitter doesn’t ban domains it doesn’t like, but wastes your time if you visit them. The delay is so constant that it is obviously deliberate”.
In a statement, the Times said that it had “made similar observations” about systemic delays and that it had “not received an explanation from the platform about this change”.
Back to normal after a press article
When asked about this information, X replied with a “poo” emoji. Elon Musk himself did not answer any questions and did not mention anything on Twitter about the delays.
However, we know that the sites affected by these delays are the same ones that Musk has in his sights. Many of these sites are, or have been, customers of X. And after the Washington Post made these delays public, the sites connected again at normal speeds.
At the same time, X continues to lose money, does not pay his bills, and is in the process of closing at least one of his sources of income, the promoted accounts. This program allows customers to promote their accounts in order to attract new followers.
Source: “ZDNet.com “