The new changes will make non-paying accounts invisible in the "For You" stream of recommended tweets.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, has announced another set of changes to the platform's paid feature, Twitter Blue.
Effective April 15th, only verified subscribers will be recommended to other users and allowed to vote in polls. Non-paying accounts' posts will no longer be featured in the "For You" stream of recommended tweets.
Musk says the changes were made to combat the issue of advanced AI-run bot swarms taking over the platform.
Since verified accounts would make it more costly to use bots and easier to identify them, Musk thinks the new measures can help him tighten his grip on bot accounts.
However, some users have criticised the policy, as it gives verified users too much power to spread misinformation on the platform and cause harm to society in the long run.
Initially, Musk launched Twitter Blue, promising users a "blue tick" verification if they paid a monthly fee. However, the number of paying users did not meet his expectations, prompting the company to make this drastic move.
As a result, unverified Twitter users will have lower visibility on the platform and a lesser chance of having their tweets liked or retweeted.
This, many critics believe, could have a detrimental impact on Twitter, as it risks becoming a platform where tweets gain traction by paying instead of the quality of their content, thus becoming less meritocratic.
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Starting April 15th, only verified accounts will be eligible to be in For You recommendations.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 27, 2023
The is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle.
Voting in polls will require verification for same reason.
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.
Twitter was forced to pause the feature after less than a week.
Since then, verified users have had 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, and it was given out by Twitter without a subscription fee.
However, the company has now started phasing out its "legacy verified programme" and will remove some "legacy verified checkmarks" from 1 April.
Twitter has stated that users need to pay to "keep your blue checkmark on Twitter."
Musk has often expressed concerns about the number of fake or spam accounts on Twitter and put his $44B plan to buy the social media platform on hold at one point.
The move to the subscription-based model is aimed at increasing revenue, but it risks alienating many users who may feel left out of the platform's community.
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