Twitter has started blocking unregistered users from viewing tweets

If you currently try to access Twitter without logging in to your user account, you’ll be unable to see any of the content that was previously available to the wider public. Instead, you’ll meet a Twitter window that asks you to either sign in to the platform or create a new account, effectively blocking you from viewing tweets and user profiles or browsing through threads unless you’re a registered Twitter user.

Twitter didn’t immediately make a public announcement, making it unclear if this was an intentional update or another technical mishap. Later on Friday, however, Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted, claiming in a reply that the change is a “Temporary emergency measure,” blaming “data pillaging” for degrading the service for all users.

Prior to this change, Twitter allowed people limited access to the platform without an account — you could view public tweets and user profiles, for example, but couldn’t like or leave comments.

A window that prevented readers from viewing additional posts until they signed in also previously appeared after the viewer had scrolled past an undisclosed number of tweets, though that at least allowed some access to the platform.

Now, regardless of how you try to access the website — be that the homepage or a direct link to a tweet or profile — you’re immediately met with a sign-in prompt that completely obscures your view. It doesn’t even tease the content with a swift redirect. You simply can’t see anything.

The move manages to both contradict and support other actions that owner Elon Musk has taken in the past year. In 2022, Musk hired noted iPhone hacker George Hotz to fix its search feature and get rid of the login prompt that prevents unregistered users from browsing the website. Hotz resigned less than halfway through his 12-week internship with the company, claiming he “didn’t think there was any real impact I could make there.” In April this year, Twitter then eliminated the platform’s search feature for unregistered users entirely.

Free Twitter account holders can still access publicly posted tweets and other information, though many of the features that enhance user experiences (such as editing tweets and user verification) are locked behind a Twitter Blue subscription, and more of the platform’s core features could soon follow. The company could probably use the cash injection from users paying for premium features — Twitter’s US advertising revenue between April and May this year plummeted by 59 percent compared to the previous year.

Update June 30th, 5:35PM ET: Added tweets from Elon Musk confirming the change is intentional.