New X users will need to wait months to post or pay for the privilege

  • Elon Musk has confirmed that X will introduce a “small fee for new user write access”.
  • New users will need to pay the fee to access basic functionality such as posting, replying and liking other posts.
  • If users choose not to pay, they will need to wait three months before they can do the bare minimum offered by other social networks, for free.

Accounts operated by bots and armies of people have been a scourge on Twitter almost as long as it’s been around. The problem is so pervasive and well-known that when Elon Musk attempted to back out of an ill-advised purchase of the platform at a premium, he claimed there were too many bots.

Since taking ownership, Musk has been warring with bots although users haven’t seen the effect of this war. In recent months, bots sharing adult content have directed users to check the account’s bio for content with such regularity it became a meme. Even a recent purge of accounts seemingly wasn’t enough to evaporate those accounts.

But now, Musk has a plan to rid bots from his beloved X platform forever – charging everybody to use the platform.

Responding to speculation that X would start charging new users a few to post, reply, bookmark and like posts on the platform, Musk confirmed that X would indeed be implementing this change.

“Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of boths. Current AI (and troll farms) can pass ‘are you a bot’ with ease,” the billionaire said.

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

The idea of charging new users a fee to access basic functions on X was first introduced in October. The platform tested charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines a small fee to post. That test now appears to be going to more users.

Responding to another user who criticised the move, Musk said that new users who opted not to pay this fee to post would have to wait three months to unlock the basic functionality mentioned above.

While the platform owner says that paying a small fee is harder for bots than solving a puzzle, we flatly disagree. Spam account operators are more than likely taking part in illicit activities and it would be simple to buy compromised credit card details to pay this fee. All Musk is going to do with this move is add an extra step for bots that could stand to earn thousands through scams and other illicit activities on X.

What’s more is that bots are already paying for X Premium with some going so far as to become a verified organisation, a fact many users pointed out to Musk.

Since Musk purchased Twitter, getting an accurate assessment of its user base has been akin to finding a hen’s teeth. While the billionaire owner shares graphs created by third-parties with no affiliation to X, getting an accurate assessment of the user base is nigh impossible. It doesn’t help that Musk and his sycophants attack anybody who dares suggest user numbers are down, instead pointing to unregretted user minutes as the magical metric for X.

The bad news is that charging new users or forcing them to wait months to post is not going to solve the bot problem. It’s going to add friction to the sign-up process for real users while becoming a minor inconvenience for bots.

We suspect that Musk is also trying to find some pennies in the couch as the loans he took to buy Twitter start to age and we’re sure those investors want to see some profit.


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