Go to any state agency website and you’ll see a familiar layout, including links to department updates, meetings, and other run-of-the-mill news. But you may have noticed a new feature: an error where tweets were once embedded.
“Twitter has introduced a new global policy that is preventing Twitter content from state agencies from being displayed on our web pages,” reads an alert at the top of all Executive Branch websites. “We will continue working with our technology providers to assess our options for bringing you this information.”
The error is the result of Twitter’s new policy that limits the number of tweets that users can view each day based on the age of their account and whether they’ve paid for verification.
Owner Elon Musk tweeted over the weekend that the limits are a response to “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation.”
The rules also require that people are signed in to view tweets, and that’s why state agencies can no longer rely on Twitter feeds to share their latest news.
Mark Raymond, chief information officer with the Department of Administrative Services, said the state’s use of Twitter feeds on agency websites was an “anonymous browsing exercise.”
Under the new rules, that section of each website instead informs users there’s “nothing to see here.” Users can click a button to view an agency’s Twitter feed on Twitter’s platform.
Agencies can continue to use their websites and Twitter feeds, but Raymond said the ability to embed tweets on a website made things easier. The feed served as a section for the latest news and updates, but agencies only had to post the info in one place.
“To the extent that we are putting stuff out on Twitter, featuring it on our web page allows people to have access to both of those things at the same time,” he said.
Now, DAS is reviewing other options. Those include looking at other social media platforms or replacing the Twitter feed with a “latest news” section.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, launched a new platform called “Threads” this week in an attempt to offer an alternative to Twitter.
Raymond said Twitter’s policy update caught the state, like everyone else, by surprise.
“We have not done a full assessment of, sort of, emerging substitutes yet,” he said.
Efforts to reach Twitter for comment Thursday afternoon were unsuccessful. An email to an account that was previously set up for press inquiries generated an automated response containing only the poop emoji, a policy Musk instituted back in March.
A phone number for the company’s headquarters no longer works. The company also did not respond to a message sent via Twitter to its communications division.
Despite the difficulties, Raymond did not criticize Twitter.
“Many people are disappointed by the changes, whether they’re justified by the business or not,” he said. “When we rely on free services such as this, it’s one of the downsides.”