BIASED: Elon Musk’s X is THROTTLING traffic to websites that drew his ire
By Ramon Tomey // Aug 17, 2023

Elon Musk's X platform (formerly Twitter) is throttling traffic to websites that have drawn the tech mogul's ire.

The Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post (WaPo) first reported on the issue on Aug. 15, noting that links to certain websites posted on X load at a slower speed. Users who clicked a link on X that directed to a targeted website were made to wait about five seconds before seeing the page. WaPo noted that the throttled sites include those of X's competitors and some news organizations.

Sites for X's rivals Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky and Substack were throttled. Meanwhile, news outlets whose sites experienced slow loading times include Reuters and the New York Times (NYT). The entities "have previously been singled out by Musk for ridicule or attack."

In contrast, WaPo found that links to most other sites were unaffected – including its own website and that of Fox News. Social media services such as Mastodon and YouTube also experienced fast loading times, "with the shortened links being routed to their final destination in a second or less."

The delay affected the link-shortening domain X uses to process every link posted on the platform. All traffic is routed to the domain, allowing the tech platform to track and throttle activity to the target website. This potentially takes away site traffic and ad revenue from entities Musk personally dislikes.

An anonymous user first flagged the delays during the early hours of Aug. 15 on the technology discussion forum Hacker News, which WaPo later picked up. After the story was published, X began reversing the throttling on some of the sites. It remains unknown if all the throttled websites had normal service restored.

Musk – a self-described "free speech absolutist" – did not respond to requests for comment, and so did X itself. Some of the targeted entities told WaPo that they were reviewing the matter.

Musk targeting websites that cross him

The anonymous user said NYT links on X began loading slowly on Aug. 4, coinciding with Musk's tirade against the newspaper. He denounced the Gray Lady as a "racial genocide apologist" and called on people to cancel their subscriptions. Musk's rage stemmed from NYT's report on a political controversy in his birthplace of South Africa.

This wasn't the first time the Gray Lady was on the receiving end of Musk's vitriol. He previously denounced NYT as "propaganda" and the "Twitter equivalent of diarrhea." In April, he removed the "verified" badge from the news outlet's account with 55 million followers. (Related: Sell out: Elon Musk says independent media will stay banned on Twitter; only "trusted" media outlets allowed.)

X's fellow Big Tech companies were also targeted, specifically those under Mark Zuckerberg's Meta. Links to Facebook, Instagram and Threads were all throttled. Musk and Zuckerberg plan to duke it out in a mixed martial arts octagon, the culmination of a back-and-forth feud on social media.

Ever since acquiring Twitter in October 2022 and renaming it to X in July, Musk has not hesitated to use the platform's tools to pursue personal grudges. In December 2022, the ElonJet account that tracked the flights of his private jet was banned. Journalists who reported on the episode also found themselves banned from the platform.

NYT spokesman Charlie Stadtlander said in a statement that it has "made similar observations of our own" and that it had "not received any explanation from the platform about this move." He continued: "While we don't know the rationale behind the application of this time delay, we would be concerned by targeted pressure applied to any news organization for unclear reasons."

Substack's three co-founders called on X to reverse its throttling. They said: "Substack was created in direct response to this kind of behavior by social media companies. Writers cannot build sustainable businesses if their connection to their audience depends on unreliable platforms that have proven they are willing to make changes that are hostile to the people who use them."

Visit for more stories about X and Elon Musk.

Watch this video explaining why Elon Musk changed Twitter's name to X.

This video is from the Thrivetime Show channel on

More related stories:

Zuckerpunch: Meta launches new text-based app to rival Twitter, then immediately begins censoring "wrongthink."

Elon Musk rebrands Twitter as "X," wants to turn it into an "everything app" similar to WeChat of China.

Elon Musk's Twitter waging war on Substack and Brighteon; no links allowed.

AI artist shows how a cage fight between Musk and Zuckerberg would look.

Sources include:

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