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Musk slows down traffic for sites he does not like

by on16 August 2023

That is not censorship is it?

Social notworking Elon [[look at me] Musk appears to have been slowing down traffic to websites he does not like in a stunning demonstration of non-censorship.

Facebook, Instagram, Thread, The New York Times, and Reuters were all on Musk’s list and users who clicked on links from X to these targeted websites had to wait about five seconds before the page loaded.

This delay initially caught users' attention on the Hacker News forum and was tested by The Washington Post who stood up the story.

Like other platforms, X uses the domain – a link-shortening service – to gather information about users who click on shared links. This domain reroutes traffic, allowing X to monitor or, in this case, supposedly limit activity to the targeted site.

When a link, such as one from The New York Times, takes significantly longer to load through X's link-shortener than other sites using the same service, it raises suspicions. Cybersecurity researcher Will Dormann told CNN that these discrepancies indicate some sort of trickery is afoot.

All these websites have previously faced public criticism from Musk, who has made rather a big issue about how his site will be uncensored.

This isn't the first time Musk has let his grudges impact the social network. He had previously blocked links to Threads and other rivals. Earlier this year, he labelled The New York Times as "propaganda" and revoked the news organisation's verification checkmark.

Since the story became public, things have returned to normal, and links to these websites are functioning as they should be.

Last modified on 16 August 2023
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