X, formerly known as Twitter, is imposing a five-second delay when users click and load links from websites that the social media's owner Elon Musk frequently criticizes.
The news comes as part of the tests the Washington Post conducted on the platform on Tuesday.
According to the publication, websites part of the five-second delay include Meta's Facebook and Instagram, X's rivals such as Bluesky, and news outlets such as the Times and Reuters - all of which had been previously criticized by Musk.
"The delay affected the t.co domain, a link-shortening service that X uses to process every link posted to the website. Traffic is routed through the domain, allowing X to track — and, in this case, throttle — activity to the target website, potentially taking away traffic and ad revenue from businesses Musk personally dislikes," the report claimed.
Publications Call Out Delays
New York Times spokesperson Charlie Stadtlander released a statement regarding the delays, noting that the Times had made similar observations and that X has yet to explain the issue.
“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,” Stadtlander said.
Meanwhile, Substack founders Chris Best, Hamish McKenzie, and Jairah Sethi told the Post that they urged Musk's X to reverse the delays.
“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," they shared.
Musk's Attacks Go Way Back
The billionaire's issues with the aforementioned platforms may be all the proof someone needs to rule out the chances that these delays are pure coincidence.
During the early days of Twitter Blue (now X Premium), Musk was very vocal about his dislike for The New York Times, often referring to its news as "propaganda."
Additionally, X removed the publication's verified badge just a day after the company announced it would remove the blue check from non-subscribers, even if Musk said the removal would take a "few weeks grace."
Oh ok, we’ll take it off then— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2023
Meanwhile, Musk's ongoing cage fight drama with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reached a new level of absurdity, with Musk claiming that he would visit Zuckerberg's backyard octagon, and Zuckerberg saying "it's time to move on."
Edited by Nikola Djuric