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Will paying for “Twitter” accounts solve bot or privacy concerns?

Following up on Twitter and Musk’s privacy violations, now new accounts have to pay a dollar to play – but will it solve anything?

A baby typing at a laptop open to the former Twitter homepage.

Savvy social media thieves are a given now.

Every social media platform is overrun with ridiculously named crawlers attached to people out to siphon money from the distracted and unaware, and that’s just the investors!

But on the ‘DMs are coming from inside the house’ front, loads of different bots—automated, disingenuous profiles designed to bamboozle—have been a serious issue on every platform since back in the stone ages of personal ads. Under a kinder, more sensible system, an adequately paid human being would be manning the help lines, righting the wrongs of false profiles wherever and whenever they were reported.

Unfortunately, due to system abuse by users and moderator abuse by penny pinching execs, the processes of removing bot/spam/fake accounts became less ‘salmon swimming upstream’, and more ‘a box of fishsticks being thrown in a grizzly cage’. Blocking profiles that could be made anew and censoring IP addresses that could change became a Sisyphean torture that was as difficult to maintain as a cardboard sewage system. Musk’s X thinks it has the answer though.

Coming onto Twitter as a fresh new account? Want to interact with anyone other than following and likes? That’ll be a dollar.

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“This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity,” X said in the post about the Not a Bot subscription plan,” Todd Spangler, J. Kim Murphy reported.

Since bot accounts thrive on one person autocreating/posting from as many fake emails as possible in order to cast a wide enough net to catch at least a couple of unsuspicious and milkable marks every now and again, charging new Twitter accounts and demanding a linked financial service means having people’s legal names and locations on hand, reducing the opportunity for an easy in, and making things safer for everyone.

The question is—who’s buying this line? Considering his last move was literally paying people to be as engaging (re: inflammatory) as possible, it’s obvious that misinformation isn’t actually the target here. And literally no one in an X corner office gives two foie gras farts about people falling prey to gift card scams and identity theft, considering the waves of layoffs of security specialists specifically. So what gives? The gift that keeps on giving—high-profile corporate legal proceedings.

Twitter’s being targeted by the DOJ (again) for possibly violating privacy regulations, and despite the fact that no one’s going to jail, and the hypothetical fine will be a drop in the bucket of multiple billions, the thought of losing any money at all, ever, even when justice is skewed to make it a kiss on the wrist, is horrifying to high execs and stakeholders.

And so here we are watching Twitter juke and jive to try and squeeze more money juices out of a continually rotting, ad-ridden fruit as CYA rather than actual strategy. Whatever bandage goes back over this if security flaws get exploited to grab up the banking info of a newer, younger, less savvy crop of fresh users remains to be seen.

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You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.


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