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Broken: X breaks images and links posted before December 2014, makes them useless

X, previously known as Twitter until its recent rebranding, is grappling with an issue where old posts containing images or hyperlinks converted through Twitter’s built-in URL shortener are not displaying correctly.

This problem came to light when Tom Coates posted about it on a Saturday afternoon, and a Brazilian blogger with the handle “@DaniloTakagi” had already pointed it out a few days prior.

As it stands, this glitch appears to impact tweets that were published before December 2014. Videos are unaffected since X introduced native image support in 2011 and built-in videos in 2016. However, links to platforms like YouTube now appear as text with a non-functioning “t.co” URL.

Interestingly, the glitch even affected one of the most famous tweets in history. It’s a selfie shared by Ellen DeGeneres during the 2014 Oscars broadcast, featuring celebrities like Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. This tweet became the “most retweeted ever,” amassing over 2 million shares in hours.

While there haven’t been any public statements from owner Elon Musk or X CEO Linda Yaccarino about the problem, the image in the affected post was restored at some point on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Despite speculation that this might be an intentional cost-cutting measure by Musk, the fact that the original media hasn’t been deleted suggests it’s more likely an error or bug. These issues have cropped up since last year’s takeover and mass layoffs.

Interestingly, at least one other older tweeted image is still functioning. The image posted on President Obama’s account after winning his 2012 reelection campaign shows a hug between him and the First Lady. While it’s unclear if this one was manually restored, it was still viewable on a Saturday afternoon.

The timing of the issue seems connected to changes Twitter implemented in 2016, introducing “enhanced URL enrichment” to display previews for linked websites and native attachments that didn’t count towards Twitter’s 140-character limit. Developer documentation indicates that the metadata for these changes began to emerge in December 2014.

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