Elon Musk Announces Changes to Twitter Blue Subscription Service
Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, has announced changes to the platform’s paid feature, Twitter Blue.
Starting from April 15th, only verified subscribers will have their posts recommended to other users and be allowed to vote in polls.
Non-paying accounts will not have their posts included in the “For you” stream of recommended tweets.
The move is aimed at addressing the issue of advanced AI bot swarms taking over the platform.
Musk believes that paid verification significantly increases the cost of using bots and makes it easier to identify them.
However, the changes have been criticized by some social media users who believe that verified users will use their power to influence misinformation and harm users.
Musk initially wanted to bring back “free speech” to Twitter, but the platform’s policy now feels very different from those ideals.
Musk turned to a subscription-based model to increase revenue, but the paying users did not come in their droves.
The new policy essentially precludes non-paying users from taking part in one of the two algorithms on Twitter, the “For you” stream of recommended tweets.
This means unverified Twitter users will be far less likely to have their tweets liked or retweeted.
The move could be a dangerous moment for Twitter, as it raises an existential question for the platform.
Previously, Twitter was a meritocratic place where tweets rose by the quality of their content, but now that appears to have been swept away.
Twitter Blue had a chaotic initial launch in November, as people started impersonating big brands and celebrities and paying for the blue tick badge to make them look authentic. Many pretended to be Musk himself.
Twitter Blue has since been used by controversial groups, including Taliban officials and their prominent supporters in Afghanistan.
Verified users have their tweets amplified above other accounts and have access to additional features, including an edit button.
Previously, the blue tick was used to indicate that high-profile accounts were authentic, but now users need to pay to keep their blue checkmark on Twitter.
Bots on social media platforms can hurt their ability to grow advertising revenue or paid-for subscriptions. Musk has often expressed concerns about how many fake or spam accounts are on Twitter.
At one point, he put his $44bn plan to buy the social media platform on hold as he queried the number of bots disclosed by the firm’s previous management team.
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