Social network X continues to take more time to follow a link to a platform that Elon Musk considers a competitor.
Analysis by The Markup found that X makes users wait around two and a half seconds to access links to Facebook, Instagram, Threads, Bluesky, and Substack.
If you click on the link in X, you will be redirected through the abbreviation – t.co. Most sites load like this within 30-40 milliseconds. The Meta, Bluesky, and Substack platforms take over 60 times longer.
This isn’t the first time X has crushed the competition. In August, an analysis by The Washington Post found that X had delayed and other social media and news organizations that Musk had publicly and frequently attacked. Among the affected domains were The New York Times and Reuters. Back then, users had to wait five seconds to get a redirect.
After the publication of the analysis, X lifted the restrictions on some sites. At least on the Times and Reuters.
Max von Thun, who researches antitrust and competition issues, sees the slowdown as “an anti-competitive tactic designed to undermine X’s competitors and keep users on their platform.”
However, such behavior may become illegal under the Digital Markets Act, a regulation that the EU introduced to ensure fair competition. If X’s dishonesty in the market is proven, then the relevant authorities can fine the social network and force it to stop this practice.
In 2017, a Google study found that slow loading times can hurt the companies that run websites. When page load times increased from one to three seconds, the likelihood of users abandoning the link increased by 32 percent.
Recall that X Premium subscribers now have the ability to hide the “Like” tab from other users.