Elon Musk Shut Down National Weather Service Alerts

Since acquiring Twitter, Elon Musk maintained that one of his major objectives was to eliminate the bots. Last night, Twitter did just that. One problem, though: The bots blocked are the good ones, Mashable reported.

According to Mashable, numerous public service Twitter accounts have lost their ability to automatically post breaking news and events. Twitter has been removing API access, which allows many of these accounts to post in an authorized way by the platform, as it switches to Musk’s new high-priced paid API system.

Many of these affected Twitter accounts have automated updates, but they aren’t the type of hands-off bot accounts that some may think of when they hear the term “bot.”

For example, numerous National Weather Service accounts that provide consistent updates, both automated and manually posted by humans, shared that they could no longer provide their up-to-the-minute, potentially life-saving updates.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Wilmington, Ohio, tweeted: “Twitter is now limiting automated tweets and as a result this account can no longer post warnings as we have done so in the past. We will continue to provide general updates, but always ensure that you have multiple means for receiving weather information & alerts.”

NWS Tsunami Alerts tweeted: a thread of tweets. The first tweet said: “Twitter is now limiting automatic tweets and as a result, this account can no longer post all #Tsunami Warnings, Advisories, Watches, and Information Statements as they are issued. We will make every effort to continue manual posts [thread emoji] (1/5)”

“During a #tsunami event, our primary mission is to message our Warning Points through official @NWS channels- this serves the most people in the fastest way possible. Social media posts are automated to speed up the posting process until more help can arrive [thread emoji] (2/5)”

“We encourage you, as always, to have redundant notification methods for #tsunami alerts: @NOAA weather / all-hazards radio, the free @fema app, 3rd-party & enterprise apps, and other can serve you in this way [thread emoji] (3/5)”

“In the event of a worst-case scenario where #tsunami inundation / flooding will happen, the Emergency Alert System on tv/radio and Wireless Emergency Alerts on your cell phone will work as a mass notification service. [Thread emoji] (4/5)”

“Finally, remember your natural warning signs. We appreciate your trust and will work toward a solution for this issue. Have a good weekend. – Your National Tsunami Warning Center Team. [Thread Emoji] (5/5).

Out of curiosity, I checked Twitter to see if any of the earthquake apps were still running. The USGS ShakeAlert account, which is run by the U.S. Government, seems to be still running.

That said, if you live in California, you don’t need to worry about earthquake warnings. Tons of people will tweet about a potential earthquake, or one they recently experienced, and it always ends up in “What’s Happening”.