Twitter users need to pay to appear in feed and vote in polls as Elon Musk announces more changes

28 March 2023, 10:12

Elon Musk has announced more changes for Twitter that could prove controversial
Elon Musk has announced more changes for Twitter that could prove controversial. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Elon Musk has announced Twitter users will need to pay for a subscription to appear in the "for you" feed and to vote in polls.

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The Space X boss said the features will now only be accessible to verified accounts, including those who subscribe to his new Twitter Blue feature.

He said it is the only way to take on fake accounts that impersonate people, a frequently-cited concern of his.

Mr Musk is pushing ahead with the changes despite criticism from people who stand to lose their "blue tick", which was given to some accounts to prove they were real before he took over last year and allowed anyone to pay to get one.

The system has partially been replaced with gold and grey ticks for business and official accounts.

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Mr Musk said: "Starting April 15th, only verified accounts will be eligible to be in For You recommendations.

"The is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle.

"Voting in polls will require verification for same reason."

He added: "That said, it's ok to have verified bot accounts if they follow terms of service & don't impersonate a human.

The changes affect one of the two main feeds Twitter users can use to view tweets.

There is a "following" feed, which shows tweets from users you follow, and "for you", which shows tweets from accounts you do not follow but may have interest in.

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The changes would prevent non-subscribers from appearing in the latter.

In the UK, a Twitter Blue subscription costs £9.60 a month, or £11 if paying through Apple or Android.

It provides other benefits, such as the ability to edit tweets or exceed the character limit.

Twitter users can make polls but now only verified accounts will be able to participate.

Mr Musk has long spoken about bots swarming social media.

During the turbulent takeover period last year, he pulled out of the deal when he accused Twitter of covering up the amount of spam accounts mixed in with genuine users.

He has made cleaning up fake accounts one of his main missions since paying $44bn for it in October last year.

Some of his changes have been criticised, including the addition of Twitter Blue.

Actor William Shatner tweeted: "Hey @elonmusk what's this about blue checks going away unless we pay Twitter?

"I've been here for 15 years giving my [time] & witty thoughts all for bupkis. Now you're telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free? What is this-the Colombia Records & Tape Club?"

Mr Musk replied: "It's more about treating everyone equally. There shouldn't be a different standard for celebrities imo."