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X (Formerly Twitter) Introduces Feature to Limit Replies to Verified Accounts

Amidst growing debates, Elon Musk’s latest change to X sparks questions on accessibility and misinformation.

Major Update to X's (Formerly Twitter) Algorithm Announced by Elon Musk

In another significant change since Elon Musk took over the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, now rebranded as X, the platform announced a new feature that allows users to limit who can reply to their posts. This update comes on the heels of a series of controversial decisions aimed at monetizing the platform through a paid verification system called X Premium.

In an official post, X disclosed that users now have the option to restrict replies solely to verified accounts. Previously, users could limit replies to ‘Everyone,’ ‘People You Follow,’ or ‘People You Mention.’ This new feature has been integrated into the existing “Who Can Reply?” settings, thus giving users a new layer of control over their interactions.

To set up the feature, users will find the words “Everyone Can Reply” at the bottom left corner of the post window. Tapping on it reveals four options: “Everyone,” “Verified Accounts,” “Accounts You Follow,” and “Only Accounts You Mention.”

Musk said in response to the announcement, “This should help a lot with spam bots.” However, this statement comes under scrutiny as there have been instances of verified bot accounts on the platform. Moreover, critics argue that the limitation on replies could be exploited to spread misinformation.

This feature is another facet of Musk’s vision for X as an “everything app,” which he has been aggressively reshaping since his acquisition in October last year. Beyond audio, video, and messaging, X Premium offers the ability to edit posts, post longer videos, and undo posts, among other perks.

For $8 per month or $84 per year, X Premium allows users to obtain a blue checkmark by their names. In India, the verification label costs Rs 719 per month. The subscription is even pricier for Android and iOS users who want to get the verified tag. Despite backlash for this paid verification system, X recently added an option to hide the blue checkmark, allowing users to keep their premium status discrete.

As with most changes to social media platforms, this new feature has sparked a debate about its potential impact on free speech and misinformation. While some believe that restricting replies to verified accounts may minimize trolling and harassment, others are concerned that it could create an echo chamber that amplifies misleading information. Elon Musk’s stewardship of the platform remains a subject of hot debate, especially as he continues to introduce features that encourage premium subscriptions.