According to a Washington Post investigation published on Tuesday, social media company X, formerly known as Twitter, delayed access to links to content on the websites of rivals Bluesky, Facebook, and Instagram as well as Reuters and the New York Times.
The Washington Post said, citing tests it carried out on Tuesday, that clicking a link on X to one of the affected websites led in a delay of around five seconds before the webpage loaded. Reuters’ tests revealed a comparable delay.
Tuesday night was when X finally seemed to have the delay under control. When asked for response, X said the delay had been eliminated but offered no further details.
The billionaire Elon Musk, who purchased Twitter in October, has previously retaliated against media outlets and reporters who have written negative articles about his businesses, including Tesla and SpaceX. Users have previously been prohibited from publishing links to competing social networking sites on Twitter.
Reuters was unable to pinpoint the exact moment that X started withholding links to select websites.
Earlier on Tuesday, a member on the internet forum Hacker News reported about the delay and claimed that starting on August 4, X started delaying links to the New York Times. Musk lambasted the magazine’s portrayal of South Africa on that particular day and said it supported demands for genocide. No proof that the two incidents are related is available to Reuters.
According to a New York Times representative, X has not provided an explanation for the link delay.
Although we are unsure of the justification for the implementation of this time delay, the spokesman stated on Tuesday that targeted pressure on any news organization for unknown reasons would worry us.
“We are aware of the report in the Washington Post of a delay in opening links to Reuters stories on X,” a Reuters representative stated. We are investigating the situation.
Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, is on the board of Bluesky, a competitor of X. Bluesky did not respond to a request for comment.
Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.