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Elon Musk Plans Paywall for New Users on X to Combat Spam Bots

Elon Musk Plans Paywall for New Users on X to Combat Spam Bots

Apr 16, 2024

Elon Musk Plans Paywall for New Users on X to Combat Spam Bots

Elon Musk, the owner of the social media platform X—formerly known as Twitter—has indicated plans to implement a fee for new users wishing to activate the posting function on the site. This measure is being claimed as a strategy to combat the persistent issue of spam bots plaguing the platform.

In a series of replies to tweets on April 15, Musk asserted that charging a "small fee" to new accounts is the "only way" to halt the "onslaught of bots." He explained that current anti-spam measures, such as CAPTCHA tests, are no match for advanced AI and troll farms. Musk also mentioned that new users could opt to not pay the fee but would then be subjected to a three-month waiting period before being able to post. However, a specific timeline for the rollout of this policy has not been disclosed.

Earlier in the month, X announced a proactive initiative to "kill spam accounts," cautioning users that their follower count might be impacted. This announcement was a response to the heightened user complaints about rampant bots following Musk's $44 billion acquisition of the platform and its rebranding.

This is not the first instance of Musk suggesting a paid model to address the bot issue on X. Last October, an experiment was conducted in New Zealand and the Philippines, where new unverified users were charged a $1 annual fee to interact with posts. The company clarified that the experiment was not profit-driven but was aimed at reducing spam bots and ensuring platform accessibility.

Further, X's official support account mentioned that subscription options have been the most effective at scale in combating bots. Musk, in a discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had emphasized the high cost-effectiveness of such a measure against bots.

Currently, X offers a single $8 premium subscription plan, which includes various features like writing longer posts and reduced ads. However, recent reports and uncovered code suggest that X may be considering a three-tier subscription plan with varying levels of ad exposure.

The potential change has elicited mixed reactions from X users, with some expressing concerns over possible new issues and others anticipating an improved platform experience. This move follows recent adjustments to X's blue checkmark system, including the elimination of the option for users to hide their paid verification checkmarks and the granting of blue checkmarks to popular accounts at no charge.

As of now, the exact details and financial specifics of the fee for new users remain unclear, as does the date of implementation. However, Musk has teased that X will be freeing up "tens of millions" of usernames in the coming weeks, suggesting ongoing efforts to enhance user experience and address the bot problem on the platform.

The Epoch Times Article

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