With Elon Musk stating he “forgot to mention,” Twitter has changed its mind about its plans to restrict appearance on its “for you” timeline to just paying users.
The proposal was initially disclosed by the company’s owner on Tuesday, when he stated it would only display customers that have paid £8 per month for “Twitter Blue” and linked their accounts to functional phone numbers.
Once Twitter ends its “legacy” verification program on Saturday, Musk said that limiting access to those subscribers—the only “verified” users on the platform—was “the only realistic approach to handle advanced AI bot swarms taking over.”
Musk later that day in a second tweet added: “Forgot to note that profiles you follow directly will also be in For You, since you have expressly asked for them.” The announcement, however, was met with criticism from many users.
The ‘for you’ tab has drawn criticism since since it was introduced by Musk as a renamed version of the pre-existing “recommended” feed. It is more aggressively curated than its predecessor, frequently inserting tweets from users’ unfollowed accounts, and has a reputation for pushing tweets from a select few well-known accounts into as many feeds as possible. Examples of these accounts include conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, Menswear commentator @dieworkwear, and nearly all of Elon Musk’s public posts.
The for you tab’s restriction to paid accounts only was justified as a measure to prevent “bot swarms” from controlling it. Before he even purchased the site, Musk was already concerned about the prevalence of automated spam accounts. He listed spam as one of the main reasons he wanted to buy the site and later listed the same spam as one of the reasons he should be permitted to back out of the agreement.
When he released a “binding” poll asking if he should stand down as the company’s CEO in late December, his attention, however, shifted into high gear. More than 10 million users, or 57.5% of the total votes, supported his resignation in less than 24 hours.
The next day, Musk broke his silence only to agree with a notion that only paid-for accounts should be allowed to vote in polls and to tweet the word “interesting” in response to many claims that the poll’s results were tainted by fraudulent accounts. According to Musk’s tweet from Tuesday, the 15th of April will see the introduction of that policy.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)