X still delaying competitors’ links on the platform

Users of X experience significant delays when clicking on links to popular platforms like Bluesky, Facebook, Instagram, and Substack.

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According to an analysis by the Markup investigation team, users of the social platform known as X are facing significant delays when clicking on links to popular platforms. The Markup tested 20 websites deemed most likely to be targeted by X for throttling.

On average, users are forced to wait for approximately two and a half seconds, considerably longer than the average wait time for links to other websites. The delay also seems to affect links to the Threads platform, owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

This discovery follows a previous report by The Washington Post, which revealed that X intentionally slowed down website traffic to platforms criticized by its owner, Elon Musk. The affected websites included competing platforms and media properties such as The New York Times and Reuters. However, X reportedly reversed some of these throttling measures after publishing The Washington Post’s report. Additionally, an antitrust expert has called for regulators to investigate X’s link throttling practices, suggesting that these actions may violate laws designed to ensure competitive markets.

Why does it matter?

Such delays in accessing websites can have negative consequences for both the website operators and the users. Even a delay of 2.5 seconds can be highly frustrating for users and may discourage them from waiting for the content to load. In fact, a 2017 study by Google found that when page load times increased from one second to three seconds, the likelihood of users abandoning a site increased by 32%.