Musk’s X is delaying access to content at Reuters, the NY Times and competitors on social media

An “X” logo is seen above the headquarters of messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, in downtown San Francisco, California, US, July 30, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barea/File Photo Acquisition of licensing rights

Aug. 15 (Reuters) – Social media company X, formerly Twitter, has delayed access to links to content on the Reuters and New York Times websites as well as competitors such as Bluesky, Facebook and Instagram, according to a report in The Washington Post on Tuesday.

The Washington Post, citing its tests on Tuesday, reported that clicking a link on the X of one of the affected sites resulted in a delay of about five seconds before the webpage loaded. Reuters also saw a similar delay in its tests.

By late Tuesday afternoon, X seemed to have rid itself of the delay. When contacted for comment, X confirmed that the delay had been removed but did not elaborate.

Billionaire Elon Musk, who bought Twitter in October, has previously criticized news organizations and journalists who have done critical reporting on his companies, which include Tesla (TSLA.O) and SpaceX. Twitter previously banned users from posting links to competing social media platforms.

Reuters could not determine the exact time when X began delaying links to some websites.

A user on Hacker News, a tech forum, posted about the delay earlier Tuesday and wrote that X began delaying links to the New York Times on August 4. That day, Musk criticized the publication’s coverage of South Africa and accused it of supporting calls for genocide. Reuters has no evidence that the two incidents are linked.

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A New York Times spokesperson said it had not received any explanation from X about the delayed link.

“While we don’t know the rationale behind this time delay being applied, we are concerned about targeted pressure being applied to any news organization for reasons that are not clear,” the spokesperson said on Tuesday.

A Reuters spokesperson said: “We are aware of the Washington Post report of a delay in opening links to Reuters stories on X. We are looking into the matter.”

Bluesky, a competitor to X that has Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on its board, did not respond to a request for comment.

Meta (META.O), which owns Facebook and Instagram, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas); Editing by Kenneth Lee and Deepa Babbington

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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