This week, lots of social media users are reporting that a strange error message is appearing on Twitter.
The message says ‘sorry, rate limited’ and is popping up on both the website and app.
What does the bizarre pop-up mean? Read on to find out…
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‘Rate limited’ error message appears
While trying to use Twitter today (March 16th), many people are receiving an error.
The statement appears whilst trying to load up the website or app and says: “Sorry, you are rate limited. Please wait a few moments and try again.”
Twitter then fails to load and users are being forced to exit the site and re-load it.
Others are reporting that the error means they are unable to like or comment on tweets.
What does it mean?
The error message isn’t new at all and has existed since the late 2000s. In a blog post in October 2008, Twitter explained exactly what the message means.
“In order to control the use of the Twitter API (the service which provides the Twitter data for 3rd party Twitter applications such as TweetDeck) Twitter sets a limit on how many times it can be used in an hour,” they said.
“This limit applies to your Twitter account rather than the applications which make the calls,” they further clarified before explaining that everybody has 100 API calls per hour in total.
Unless you’re a data wiz, it’s all very confusing, but all you really need to know is that the ‘rate limited’ error appears when you have made more than 100 API calls within an hour.
Every operation that communicates with Twitter is an API call, and in simple words, an API call is essentially the process of requesting data from the social media platform.
Things that require sending data to Twitter rather than requesting it, like posting tweets, sending direct messages, unfollowing a user or retweeting a tweet, are not API calls and do not count towards your 100-per-hour limit.
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How to avoid being ‘rate limited’
If you get the ‘rate limit exceeded’ message, it’s not the end of the world. It just means that Twitter will not provide any updates until the hour is up.
Some aspects of Twitter will appear frozen until the new hour starts and the rate limit is reset.
However, there are some things you can do to stop this from happening. Twitter suggests that you…
- Only ever run one Twitter application at a time, even if you’re not using the others make sure they are closed.
- Try not to over use the refresh button – this will cost you 3 calls per click (All Tweets, Replies & DMs).
- Try lowering the total % in the settings window, Twitter API tab to around 60-70% – you’ll get less frequent updates but you’ll use less API.
If you do get the ‘rate limit exceeded’ message then note down your reset time shown in the top right-hand corner of TweetDeck. Then, close Twitter and reopen it at the reset time.