Musk to charge new X users to post, but some say it won’t stop the bots


Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk is planning to charge new users to tweet in an attempt to curb an ongoing spam problem on his microblogging platform X, though not everyone is convinced this will stem the tide of crypto-scam touting bots.

X owner Elon Musk said “Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots,” on April 15 in reply to a post by the ‘X Daily News’ account regarding the testing of a spam reduction policy.

The announcement stated that X might be expanding its policy to charge new users to use basic functions such as posting, replying, liking or bookmarking a post.

Musk said tools such as CAPTCHA can already be bypassed by current AI and “troll farms” with “ease.”

Source: Elon Musk

Musk has been battling the bots ever since he took over Twitter in a $44 billion deal that was completed in October 2022.

He said the onslaught of fake accounts “also uses up the available namespace, so many good handles are taken as a result.”

A similar policy was already implemented in New Zealand and the Philippines on a trial basis in October. The ‘Not A Bot’ subscription method for new users in those two countries required a $1 payment to access additional features.

“This won’t stop bots completely, but it will be 1000X harder to manipulate the platform,” said Musk at the time.

Many however argue that the new potential charges won’t prevent the onslaught of bots.

Blockchain sleuth ZachXBT was among many who didn’t agree with the method, stating:

“There are hundreds of business verified scam accounts every week which scammers pay thousands of dollars for.”

He used a screenshot of a dubious verified Wormhole X account that was posting spurious links for an airdrop.

“There is an entire black market for these accounts,” he said before adding that it will also “kill new user growth.”

Meta Mint team member “Roxo” said: “The issue has nothing to do with new accounts being made its that X staff are completely useless at terminating fake accounts,” before adding that the majority of bots and scam accounts were created years ago.

Related: Elon Musk offers users free premium features on X, crypto scammers included

In late March, Musk said that accounts with 2,500 verified subscribers as followers would no longer need to pay for “Premium” features. However, the ability to purchase verification status on the platform may have opened the doors for scammers, reported Cointelegraph.

Earlier this month, X announced that it was starting a “significant, proactive initiative to eliminate accounts that violate our rules against platform manipulation and spam.”

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