Elon Musk (File) Tesla and SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk speaking at SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition March 9, Washington 2020. Musk’s refusal to allow Ukraine to use Starlink internet services to launch a surprise attack on Russian forces in Crimea last September has raised questions for the Pentagon. Frank Kendall, the Air Force’s civilian chief, said that future contracts for defense may have to make it clearer whether or not products and services purchased could be used during war. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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I’m following the destruction of Twitter like it’s a dumpster fire.
The dumpster is filled with cardboard. (Twitter Blue Verification becomes a service that costs money). Watch in horror as someone pours gas on the cardboard.
You can see a match lit, preparing to ignite an inferno.
Musk recently made an announcement in a conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu on livestream. Musk hinted that he could start charging people to use X, a former Twitter service which we still call by that name. That report by The Guardian quoted Musk as saying: “We’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the system.”
This reasoning seems a bit suspect. According to CNBC, Musk says there are too many bots, and by charging a small amount per month for access, the service can eradicate what he called “a vast army of bots” that have invaded the service over the last several years.
Let’s peel back the layers here a little. Musk appears to have given up the fight in his battle against bots who can make accounts, act like real humans, and trolling other users. The bot army is a common phenomenon that spies on websites, social media sites and other platforms to get your information and scam you. The bots have become a major problem, as they are programmed to mimic human behavior and can defeat the many defenses built by tech companies to keep them at bay.
The solution to the problem doesn’t really make sense, though.
Musk’s suggestion is this: The users themselvesPaying for the privilege to use a service which is free of bot accounts would be preferable to trying to figure out how to remove the bots. (Bot armies are rampant, but they don’t like to pay subscription fees.) More critically, he’s suggesting that X is worth paying for in the first place.
This business model worked well with some other services. Secure email is one example. Zivver is a good example of an app that can be used to charge for email. You may be sending financial data or legal documents to your clients. This service is $7.20 a month.
X allows users to send links for cat videos. It’s a meme generator. You can say everything you don’t like about a politician. We agree to see ads and sponsored content because we don’t actually pay attention to the ads in the first place. Charging for a service that’s barely useful reveals a complete misunderstanding of why we use the apps in the first place. Believe me, it’s not for sending legal documents to clients.
Here’s where things get interesting, though. Musk wants us to pay for X now, before it becomes the app he wants it to become — which might actually have some usefulness or involve our finances in some way. He hasn’t built that yet. He purchased Twitter at random, then realized that millions of users accounts could be transferred to another app without him asking.
What could work? Musk needs to build X before asking us to pay. The way it stands now, there’s really no reason to keep using X, whether you like the name or not.
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