According to a recent conversation between Elon Musk and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk is contemplating the addition of a paywall to Twitter. The purpose behind this move, as explained Musk, is to deter bots from spamming the platform.
Musk states, “If somebody even has to pay a few dollars or something, some minor amount, the effective cost to bots is very high.” The intention is to make it more difficult and less profitable for bots to infiltrate Twitter implementing a small monthly payment system.
However, this decision seems contradictory, as Twitter already introduced a premium subscription service called Twitter Blue, known as X Premium, to combat bots. Nevertheless, X Premium has replaced legacy verification, leading to a situation where spammers can pay a fee to receive priority in comments, resulting in a wall of incendiary or spam comments on many posts.
Musk suggests that a smaller fee for using Twitter would be more effective in countering bots than the current premium subscription. He plans to introduce a lower-tier pricing option, claiming it is the only defense against hordes of bots.
There is some confusion and debate surrounding Musk’s intentions and whether a lower-tier subscription would become mandatory to use the platform. Lowering the price point for signal boosting could potentially exacerbate the spam issue, and for the strategy to work, the free tier of Twitter would need to be nearly unusable.
It remains to be seen if Musk will follow through with the implementation of a paywall on Twitter. His previous policy changes, such as the rebranding of Twitter Blue, have not effectively mitigated spam. Nevertheless, Musk believes that increasing the cost for bots will discourage spam companies from investing in their operations.
– Paywall: a system that restricts access to content, usually requiring payment
– Bots: automated accounts that interact with social media platforms, often used for spamming or spreading misinformation
– Twitter Blue (now referred to as X Premium): Twitter’s premium subscription service that offers additional features to users
– BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-60120613