Report: Twitter secretly boosted accounts instead of treating everyone equally
It looks like the Twitter experience is about to change for nearly everybody on the platform--even those who buy into CEO Elon Musk's Twitter Blue subscription service.
On Monday, Musk tweeted that after April 15, "only verified accounts will be eligible to be in For You recommendations" and eligible to vote in polls (which can be a way for accounts to boost engagement). Musk claims this is "the only realistic way to address" an otherwise "hopeless losing battle" with "advanced AI bot swarms taking over" the platform.
These changes will apparently take effect two weeks after Musk said Twitter will begin "un-verifying" legacy blue checked accounts. That makes it likely that soon some of Twitter's most beloved and trusted accounts will no longer be promoted widely to users via the "For You" tab if they refuse to pay $8 a month to get access to subscriber benefits.
After making these announcements, Musk reiterated past claims that charging a subscription fee is about making Twitter more trustworthy and "treating everyone equally."
"My prediction is that this will be the only platform you can trust," Musk tweeted, shortly after declaring that when it comes to amplifying tweets, "there shouldn't be a different standard for celebrities imo."
My prediction is that this will be the only platform you can trust
In November, Musk acknowledged that launching Twitter Blue was also a critical part of his monetization strategy to end Twitter's near-complete reliance on ad revenue. At that time, Musk promised to fully explain his Twitter Blue strategy, saying, "I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls."
Twitter has yet to fully explain how the company expects that Twitter Blue solves its spam bot problem as promised and did not respond to Ars' request for comment.
Twitter secretly boosting list of favored users
While Twitter accounts with legacy check marks brace for these reported changes--which some users have described as akin to "shadowbanning" free users--Platformer reported that Twitter has still been showing a clear preference to some of its most high-profile users. A secret list of 35 Twitter power users whose accounts are marked VIP currently enjoy increased visibility in feeds, with engineers reportedly even going so far as to tweak code to ensure that they show up in the "For You" tab.