Twitter Now Demanding You Sign Up

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A numbers of readers have written in this morning to tell us that Twitter no longer allows you to see any of the content on the platform unless you log in. Logging in is pretty simple of course. But you need an account. And many of you don’t have one and don’t want one. That is a very reasonable position. While I continue to spend an inordinate amount of time on the platform, not wanting to have any connection to it is a totally reasonable stance. Indeed, under it’s current degenerate ownership it’s probably a good stance. For myself, a mix of character defects and needing to promote TPM keeps me there.

The one thing this really impacts is those lists I sometimes flag to your attention — a couple about Ukraine, one about electoral number crunching, one about COVID. I find those immensely valuable tools for keeping abreast of key topics.

I don’t have any solution to this problem. While I personally am trying out Bluesky (one of several Twitter clones), none of the current competitors offer a solution or a replacement right now for this particular use. It’s simply that Twitter remains where most people are. Most of the people following Ukraine on that list aren’t on Mastodon or Post or Bluesky. It’s the network effects that make those lists such a resource.

For now I just wanted to reference the problem, make clear we’re aware of it. We’ll look for workarounds if they present themselves.

I will simply note as a general point that while I didn’t know about this new policy until readers started flagging it to my attention, it is not surprising and another of Elon Musk’s really stupid ideas — another shortsighted, petulant and generally self-harming decision that will only hasten Twitter’s longterm decline. The key is that, to paraphrase Adam Smith, there’s a lot of ruin in Twitter. Yes, he’s killing it. But it’s big enough and has those network effects and mass buy-in that the decline will take some time to play out.

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