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X to charge new users for posting in effort to curb bot invasion

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X, formerly known as Twitter, is making plans to tackle the scourge of bots and spam on its platform. The plan, which was revealed by Elon Musk, involves charging new users a small fee before they can post, like, reply and bookmark content.

According to X owner Elon Musk, the new policy is the “only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots” that have plagued the social media network. Musk says current AI tools and “troll farms” can easily bypass existing methods like CAPTCHA to create fake accounts.

Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots,” Musk tweeted in response to an X Daily News post about testing a spam reduction policy.

The fee structure has already been tested in New Zealand and the Philippines, where new unverified users were required to pay $1 per year to access features like posting and interacting. Musk said new users will be able to browse and follow accounts for free, but will need to pay the fee or wait three months before they can post.

However, many are skeptical that the new pay-to-post model will be effective in stemming the tide of bots and scams on X. Blockchain sleuth ZachXBT pointed out that there is a “black market” where scammers purchase verified accounts for thousands of dollars, highlighting the limitations of the approach.

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Meta Mint team member Roxo also argued that the majority of bots and fake accounts were created years ago, suggesting the problem lies more with X’s moderation efforts than new user signups.

The announcement comes as X has pledged a major crackdown on spam accounts, warning users their follower counts may be affected. But whether charging new users will prove a silver bullet in X’s long-running battle against bots remains to be seen.

As Musk seeks to reshape the platform and introduce new revenue streams, the decision to erect a paywall for basic posting functions is sure to be met with criticism from users who have long enjoyed the free-to-use model of social media.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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