from the admission-fee-to-the-public-square dept
So, remember when Elon first announced his plans to buy Twitter, and he claimed that it was “the de facto town square” and his top priority was to eliminate spam and scam bots?
“A top priority I would have is eliminating the spam and scam bots and the bot armies that are on Twitter. They make the product much worse.”
He tweeted out that he was going to “defeat the spam bots or die trying!”
Of course, a month later, when he decided that he wanted out of the binding deal he signed that had no outs, he suddenly started pretending that he could get out of the deal because there were more spam bots than he originally believed. That made no sense, was wrong about the data, and also was not even remotely an effective legal strategy, as he ended up being forced to pay the price he had promised.
Of course, since then, Elon has repeatedly claimed that he’s magically fixed the problem of spam bots on the platform. Back in December of last year, Musk claimed that he had a plan to shut down bot IP addresses and that would magically solve the bot problem that he insists the company failed to fix before the genius that is Elon Musk showed up.
Musk took a bit of a victory lap about how he had defeated the bots, only to find out that… his actions did not do a damn thing to stop spam bots, which are now more prevalent than ever on the site. Of course, in the lore of Musk, everyone must pretend that the earlier announcements he’s made that didn’t pan out didn’t exist, so no one ever seems to follow up on any of these claims, or the fact that Musk has repeatedly promised that things like his $8/month verification problem will magically solve the bot problem, when it only served to further enable scammers to prey on people by pretending to be legit.
These are all entirely expected results that Elon could have understood if he hadn’t fired everyone who actually understood the process of fighting spam. None of this is secret. However, with Musk, he always has to ignore expertise and go with his gut, even when his gut is ill-informed.
The latest potential move he’s talking about is making everyone have to pay a small monthly fee to use exTwitter.
Among other things, Musk said the social network is “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system” in order to combat “vast armies of bots.”
As always with Elon, it’s difficult to know what he will actually do and what is him just talking nonsense. Having followed the guy and his announcements for quite some time now, it appears that he has a rather Trump-like ability to say ridiculously stupid stuff that he 100% believes in the moment, and the question of whether or not it actually goes anywhere comes down to two factors: (1) if someone close to him who knows how absolutely stupid the idea is can talk him out of it or (2) if someone close to him who knows how absolutely stupid the idea is can distract him with some new shiny object to take his attention off this idea for long enough that he forgets about it.
If either of those things happen, the plan to paywall “the de facto public square” to defeat the bots Musk already insisted he had defeated may just slowly fade away and be forgotten. If he does implement it, however, it will almost certainly be a disaster for exTwitter, and will lead to a much bigger rush to other sites.
The thing is, like so many of Musk’s ideas for exTwitter, this one is so unquestionably, obviously stupid and counterproductive that it just lays bare how little Musk understands about social media and the internet. I have my doubts as to whether or not he will actually go through with it, but I also have a morbid fascination with watching what would happen if he does…
Filed Under: bots, elon musk, monthly fee, paywall, spam
Companies: twitter, x
Source : https://www.techdirt.com/2023/09/19/elon-who-insisted-he-had-solved-the-spam-bot-problem-now-says-he-will-paywall-twitter-to-stop-spam-bots/