Elon Musk’s X/Twitter Claims to Fight ‘Bots & Trolls’ with System Purge

Elon Musk's X logo for Twitter
Anadolu Agency/Getty

In a series of recent updates, Elon Musk’s social media platform X (formerly Twitter) says it is taking significant steps to combat “bots and trolls” while also reinstating the blue verification checkmark for influential users that refuse to pay the platform for the privilege.

Quartz reports that Elon Musk, the owner of X/Twitter, announced on Thursday that a system to purge the site of bots and trolls is currently “underway.” In a post on the platform, Musk asked users to report any legitimate accounts that are accidentally suspended during this process by replying to his post or contacting the official account for X’s Product and Infrastructure teams, @XEng.

X/Twitter’s safety team stated that this initiative is part of a broader effort to make the platform “a better, safer space for everyone.” The team emphasized that they are “casting a wide net to ensure X remains secure and free of bots” and that this proactive approach will help eliminate accounts that violate the platform’s rules against manipulation and spam.

Users have been complaining about the increasing presence of bots on the platform, many of which have even been “verified” by X/Twitter. These automated accounts often reply to posts with unrelated or nonsensical content, making it difficult for users to find genuine responses from real people.

As Breitbart News recently reported, the platform has a major porn problem that also involves bots:

According to John Herrman of New York magazine, one particularly viral type of post on X involves the phrase “pussy in bio,” often leading users to simple scams. These posts, frequently generated by porn spambots, lure lonely individuals into following a series of links, promising to connect them with local singles. The ease with which such scams proliferate on the platform highlights X/Twitter’s inability to effectively combat the issue at scale.

Beyond the “PIB” scams, X has become a haven for OnlyFans creators looking to market themselves. While Twitter, even before Musk’s acquisition, had liberal content policies allowing for porn when correctly labeled and restricted from certain high-profile areas, the current situation on X/Twitter has escalated. Herrman reports that the platform is now inundated with posts promoting OnlyFans agencies, which are essentially accounts for OnlyFans creators staffed by call center workers impersonating real people, operating in a manner similar to flirt sites.

Coinciding with the crackdown on bots, X/Twitter has also begun reinstating blue checkmarks for some accounts without requiring them to pay the $8 monthly subscription fee. Prior to Musk’s acquisition of the platform in October 2022, public figures, organizations, and other notable accounts could apply for verification for free. The company was notorious for using verification as a weapon against conservatives and in favor of leftists. However, after the takeover, only paying subscribers were allowed to keep their blue checks.

Elon Musk looks puzzled

Elon Musk looks puzzled (Anadolu Agency/Getty)

Starting late Wednesday, some users received complimentary Premium subscriptions along with their reinstated blue checkmarks, as they were considered “influential members of the community.” Musk stated that accounts with more than 2,500 verified subscriber followers will receive the blue check and Premium features for free, while those with more than 5,000 subscriber followers will be granted the $16-per-month Premium+ subscription at no cost.

Several high-profile users took to X/Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the restored blue checks. Community actor Yvette Nicole Brown wrote, “What happened? I didn’t pay for this. I would NEVER pay for this.” Similarly, Oscar nominee Jeffrey Wright shared a screenshot of the notification he received about his complimentary subscription, sarcastically commenting, “Translation: Pay $8? Kidding. Help me. But don’t say anything too free speechy about me or my Garbage Tower of Babel shitsite.”

The Wire creator David Simon was particularly blunt in his reaction, stating, “Yo, Elon, take this blue check and scratch your taint with the long end of it. Does anyone out there know how to turn this fucker off?” Interestingly, Simon’s checkmark was removed shortly after.

Read more at Quartz here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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