Elon Musk Introduces Posting Fees on X to Combat Bots and Spam

Key Insights:

  • Elon Musk announces fees for new users on X to combat spam, raising concerns among users.
  • Blockchain experts question the effectiveness of posting fees in stopping sophisticated bots.
  • The ‘Not A Bot’ subscription in New Zealand and the Philippines marks X’s initial step towards combating spam.

Elon Musk, the tech billionaire and owner of the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, announced a new initiative to combat the influx of spam and bot accounts. He stated that starting soon, new users will need to pay a fee to post, reply, like, or bookmark the platform. Musk believes this measure will significantly reduce the bot problem that has plagued the platform for years.

Musk expressed his frustration with the current anti-spam tools like CAPTCHA, which he said bots and troll farms easily bypass. Consequently, the platform plans to implement a small fee for new users, which Musk argues is necessary to lessen the ongoing bot assault. He mentioned, “Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots.”

The decision follows trial policies in New Zealand and the Philippines, where new users could unlock additional features by paying a $1 ‘Not A Bot’ fee. Musk commented on the trials, saying, “This won’t stop bots completely, but it will be 1000X harder to manipulate the platform.” Despite these measures, many users and experts remain skeptical about their effectiveness.

Critics, including blockchain sleuth ZachXBT, argue that the fees will not deter bots, as scammers are already spending thousands to create and maintain verified scam accounts. ZachXBT highlighted the issue with a screenshot of a verified Wormhole X account that posted dubious links, undermining Musk’s plan’s potential success.

Moreover, a team member from Meta Mint, Roxo, criticized X’s staff for their inefficacy in handling fake accounts, stating, “The issue has nothing to do with new accounts being made it that X staff are completely useless at terminating fake accounts.” This statement points to systemic issues within the platform’s administration that go beyond merely implementing fees.

Earlier measures by Musk included allowing accounts with 2,500 verified subscribers to access premium features without additional costs, which inadvertently may have facilitated scammers obtaining verification status. In response to growing concerns, X recently launched a significant initiative aimed at proactively eliminating accounts involved in platform manipulation and spam.

However, the introduction of a posting fee for new users is seen as a double-edged sword. It aims to reduce the number of fake accounts, but it could also stifle new user growth by imposing a financial barrier to entry, which could alienate potential legitimate users.

Elon Musk’s strategy reflects his ongoing battle with bots, which has been a significant issue since he acquired the platform for $44 billion in October 2022. The new policy intends to reclaim valuable username space, which is often occupied by these fake accounts, and restore the integrity of user interactions on X.

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