Social media powerhouse X, previously recognized as Twitter, has been accused of postponing access to content links from renowned news sources including Reuters and New York Times.
This eyebrow-raising claim extends to competitors like Bluesky, Facebook, and Instagram, as reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday.
An investigation conducted by The Washington Post uncovered a peculiar delay of approximately five seconds upon clicking links to the affected websites via X’s platform.
Echoing these findings, Reuters too encountered a parallel delay during its own trials.
However, the twilight of Tuesday witnessed a swift about-face, with X seemingly eradicating the contentious delay.
When pressed for an official response, X acknowledged the removal of the delay without offering further insights into the matter.
Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter in October, has previously launched scathing tirades against news entities and journalists critiquing his corporate ventures, which encompass the formidable realms of Tesla and SpaceX.
It’s noteworthy that Twitter has historically prohibited users from sharing links directed to rival social media networks.
Regrettably, Reuters was unable to pinpoint the precise juncture at which X instated the link delay mechanism.
Earlier on Tuesday, a vigilant user on the tech forum Hacker News set off alarm bells by disclosing the link delay phenomenon, explicitly noting that X initiated the delay in accessing New York Times links on August 4.
Notably, August 4 witnessed Musk’s vehement rebuke of the publication’s coverage pertaining to South Africa, even accusing it of endorsing genocidal propensities.
Nevertheless, Reuters lacks tangible evidence to establish any direct nexus between these two occurrences.
A spokesperson representing the esteemed New York Times expressed bewilderment over the link delay, elucidating that X has not extended any clarification on the subject.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the spokesperson emphasized, “While the rationale behind this temporal obstruction remains elusive, any targeted pressure exerted on news agencies for nebulous motives is a cause for deep concern.”
Equally vocal, a spokesperson for Reuters affirmed, “We acknowledge the report featured in The Washington Post detailing the delay in accessing Reuters stories via X. We are diligently investigating the situation.”
Strikingly, Bluesky, a contender in X’s domain chaired by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, remained conspicuously silent, abstaining from comment despite the inquiry.
Also, Meta, the corporate progenitor of Facebook and Instagram, maintained an aura of silence, promptly declining to give any comment upon request.
The alleged link delay scenario not only raises eyebrows but also unfurls profound concerns regarding the cherished principles of press freedom.