Photo by Tada Images/Shuterstock.com
A new wave of changes is coming to Twitter starting in April. In addition to killing legacy verified marks and requiring existing users to pay to keep their verified checkmarks starting April 1, Twitter owner Elon Musk has also announced that the site will only recommend paid users in its For You feed starting April 15.
Musk explained his decision by saying that the change is the “only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over”. He then said in a follow-up tweet that these AI bots can pay for verification as long as they don’t impersonate a human, and presumably also show up in the For You feed, something that directly contradicts Musk’s fight against bot accounts on Twitter. Voting in polls also requires verification for the same reason now.
Showing only verified users in the For You feed is problematic for a few reasons. With the legacy verified system going away, it looks like only company, government entity or Twitter Blue subscribers will show up in the For You feed, significantly killing the reach of non-verified accounts actually run by humans.
That said, it’s worth taking this announcement with a grain of salt as Musk’s tweets don’t always end up as enforceable policies on the platform. Two biggest examples of this are his promises of sharing ad revenue with Twitter Blue subscribers and open-sourcing the company’s algorithm by March 15. While Musk says the latter will happen by March 31 now, there’s no word on the former.
Musk also said that he’ll be asking the community before making major changes to Twitter, which he then followed up by saying that Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to vote in policy polls. Both of those promises haven’t been fulfilled either. So unless Twitter scrapping their legacy verification system Starting April 1 isn’t an April Fools joke, the entire change seems to be another push to get as many users to sign up for Twitter Blue as possible.
In the News: Apple fixes recently disclosed WebKit zero-day