Why subscription fees are not a magic bullet against spam

In the year since SpaceX/Tesla CEO Elon Musk assumed control of the social media platform formerly known as Twitter (now X), the site’s new leadership has repeatedly asserted that subscription fees are “the only way” to fight spam and malicious bots. These assertions have been unaccompanied by evidence, however, and a few quick searches are sufficient to demonstrate that the current X Premium/Twitter Blue paid subscription feature is regularly exploited by spammers hawking everything from cryptocurrency tokens to coffee mugs. Fees also do not present much of an obstacle to organized efforts to manipulate the platform: for-profit spam operations will simply incorporate the fees into their own pricing structures (or use compromised accounts), and nation-states and other political actors with even a minimal budget won’t balk at plunking down some cash for a few dozen or a few thousand fake accounts. Finally, large subscription-based online platforms have in fact already been in operation for over two decades in the form of massively multiplayer games such as World of Warcraft, which experience high rates of spam and botting despite charging fees.verifiably spammy verified accountsFar from eliminating spam, X’s $8/month blue verification checkmark has been embraced by spammers who take advantage of the visibility boost that comes with paid verification. These accounts posts hundreds or thousands of identical replies, which often get algorithmically pushed to the top of the reply sections of the posts they reply to. These replies generally promote various products and link to other posts or external websites where…Why subscription fees are not a magic bullet against spam

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