After criticism that a new pay-to-post policy could limit tweets used for key public safety and transit alerts, Twitter said it will allow government agencies and other public entities to share automated warnings on the social network for free.

Elon Musk-helmed Twitter had announced in March that it would begin limiting and charging for programmed tweets, affecting accounts that share severe-weather warnings and subway service alerts, among other “bots” used to inform and entertain.

The National Weather Service had cautioned the change posed a threat to public safety and told Twitter users to ensure they had other ways to receive warnings of tornadoes and other weather threats. The New York subway, meanwhile, said it would pull back from the social media site, which has faced increased criticism since Musk took over last year that changes to Twitter are making it less vital for many users.

In a tweet posted Tuesday, Twitter said it would allow such automated tweets to continue for free, in the interest of “public utility.”

Susan Buchanan, a Weather Service spokeswoman, said the agency had been sharing concerns and expected impacts with Twitter “regularly” since it announced March 29 new fee tiers allowing 1,500 automated tweets per month free, or as many as 50,000 for a $100-a-month fee. The Weather Service expected a limit of 50 free automated tweets during any 24 hours and as a result told the public that some weather warnings “may not be posted.”

“We’re optimistic that this will resolve the…issue,” Buchanan said, adding that Weather Service accounts are pursuing approval of new gray check marks that Twitter now applies to government organizations. For those institutions, the gray check marks replace blue logos that long denoted verified users on Twitter, but which the social network recently removed for users who did not pay for one.

Other organizations also shared relief at Twitter’s reversal.

Sarah Meyer, chief experience officer for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, thanked Twitter as well as New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which said last week it would no longer use the social network to share service updates or other information, for “forcing the conversation.”

“So relieved that @wmata can continue to improve its services using this important tool,” Meyer wrote in a tweet.

The MTA tweeted that it was “Glad that Twitter got the message.”

But there was still uncertainty over whether the reversal would resolve all of the issues critics have raised.

Daryl Herzmann, a systems analyst at Iowa State University who runs a stable of automated weather accounts that are used widely by meteorologists on Twitter, said he’s unsure to whom the new exception to automated tweet fees would apply.

“I have no details on how this is to work or if my bots are a part of it or what,” he tweeted.

In response to emailed questions about how it would apply the policy, Twitter officials sent a poop emoji. Musk announced in March that would be Twitter’s standard response to media inquiries.

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