Twitter is on the verge of a historic change. It's a huge risk that could alienate many of the accounts that create much of Twitter's content. It also reveals how desperate Twitter is for new revenue streams as it fights to regain lost relevance and create a viable business model.
Twitter's For You tab shows users tweets from people they don't follow but are recommended by Twitter's algorithm. Musk tweeted that restricting this tab to Twitter Blue user tweets "is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over."
Earlier, Musk had also said, "Voting in polls will require verification for the 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."
This has led to confusion. As one person replied, "'Verified bot'? that's like an oxymoron and the anthesis to what you say you are trying to accomplish. Odd."
This latest set of shifts in Twitter policy is seen by many as an attempt to switch over from an advertiser-based model to one that depends on user subscriptions. In a letter to employees, Musk said Twitter is now worth about $20 billion. He'd paid $44 billion for Twitter in October 2022.
Currently, Twitter has less than 500K paid subscribers. That's less than only 0.12% of Twitter's total user base. To meet Musk's goal of 50% of the social network's revenue, it would need 24 million Twitter Blue members.
Not everyone is happy with this shift to paid accounts. Actor William Shatner, best known as Star Trek's Captain Kirk, 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?"