Tag Archives: Twitter

Elon Musk Says Twitter’s For You Page Is for Verified Accounts

Twitter users will need a “verified account” to get recommended on the platform’s For You page starting on April 15th, according to a Monday evening tweet from CEO Elon Musk. Given that Twitter has promised to start dismantling the “legacy” verified system at the beginning of April, that appears to mean that you’ll have to be a company, government entity, or Twitter Blue subscriber if you want to pop into the feeds of people who don’t follow you, The Verge reported.

Here is what Elon Musk tweeted:

“Starting April 15th, only verified accounts will be eligible to be in For You recommendations.

This is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle.

Voting in polls will require verification for the same reason.”

The Verge reported: It’s worth taking this announcement with a big grain of salt, as Musk’s tweets haven’t always turned into enforced policy or features. Perhaps the biggest example is his promise from February that the company was going to start sharing ad revenue with Blue subscribers, something that’s still MIA almost two months later. That same month, he also promised to open-source the company’s algorithm by March 5th, which hasn’t happened yet – though now he says it will happen on March 31st, without acknowledging the previous missed deadline.

TechCrunch reported Twitter has been trying to promote the “For You” timeline for a while now, despite negative opinions from many users. The move to make it a verified-only algorithmic feed won’t be a popular decision either.

Notably, analysts suggest that Twitter has only 385,000 paying users at the moment. Plus the company is removing legacy verification checkmarks of previously notable accounts on April 1. So the algorithmic feed will be filled by paid accounts in addition to brands and officials’ accounts making it for a very skewed timeline, according to TechCrunch.

TechCrunch also reported that this development comes days after GitHub took down Twitter’s leaked source code. What’s more, Musk promised to open source the social network’s recommendation algorithm on March 31. TechCrunch noted: We’ll have to wait and see if the code has references to limiting it to only verified users.

BuzzFeed News reported that Elon Musk announced that starting April 15, only Twitter Blue subscribers will appear in the For You feed. According to Musk’s tweet on Monday, the measure is to stop AI bots. Additionally, only verified users can vote in polls.

According to BuzzFeed News, this comes a few days after Twitter announced that legacy verified accounts will lose their blue checkmark starting April 1st unless they sign up for paid Twitter Blue. At the same time, Twitter is working on a way for paid subscribers to hide their blue checks, presumably because it might seem embarrassing to have one if all it means is that you’ve paid for it.

BuzzFeed News also wrote: Regular, unpaid accounts will presumably only be visible in the Following feed, the chronological feed of only the people you follow – basically, what Twitter used to be.

Overall, I feel as though Twitter has become very chaotic after Elon Musk took over. He appears to desperately want to monetize the platform, which has been free to use for most of Twitter’s existence. These haphazard decisions could influence people to stop using Twitter and switch to a Mastodon account.

Supreme Court To Hear Two Cases Regarding Section 230

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) posted information titled: “Section 230 is On Trial. Here’s What You Need to Know”. The EFF wrote about two court cases that involve Section 230.

According to EFF, the Supreme Court next week will hear two cases – Gonzalez v. Google on Tuesday, Feb. 21, and Twitter v. Taamneh on Wednesday, Feb. 22 – that could dramatically affect users’ speech rights online.

Nearly everyone who speaks online relies on Section 230, a 1996 law that promotes free speech online, the EFF wrote. Because users rely on online intermediaries as vehicles for their speech, they can communicate to large audiences without needing financial resources or technical know-how to distribute their own speech. Section 230 plays a critical role in enabling online by speech by generally ensuring that those intermediaries are not legally responsible for what is said by others.

The EFF pointed out that Section 230’s reach is broad: it protects users as well as small blogs and websites, giants like Twitter and Google, and any other service that provides a forum for others to express themselves online.

Courts have repeatedly ruled that Section 230 bars lawsuits against users and services for sharing, or hosting content created by others, whether by forwarding email, hosting online reviews, or reposting photos of videos that others find objectionable. Section 230 also protects the curation of online speech, giving intermediaries the legal breathing room to decide what type of user expression they will host and to take steps to moderate content as they see fit.

Vox reported that in 2015, individuals affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS conducted a wave of violence and mass murder in Paris – killing 129 people. One of them was Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American student who died after ISIS assailants opened fire on the café where she and her friends were eating dinner.

Vox also reported that on New Year’s Day 2017, a gunman opened fire inside a nightclub in Istanbul, killing 39 people – including a Jordanian national named Nawras Alassaf who had several American relatives. ISIS also claimed responsibility for this act of mass murder.

According to Vox, Gonzalez’s and Alassaf’s families brought federal lawsuits pinning the blame for these attacks on some very unlikely defendants. In Gonzalez vs Google, Gonzalez’s survivors claim that tech giant Google should compensate them for the loss of their loved one. In a separate suit, Twitter v. Taamneh, Alassaf’s relatives make similar claims against Google, Twitter, and Facebook.

Vox pointed out that the thrust of both of the lawsuits is that websites like Twitter, Facebook, or Google-owned YouTube are legally responsible for the two ISIS killings because ISIS was able to post recruitment videos and other content on these websites that were not immediately taken down.

In my opinion, there is no way to know for certain how the Supreme Court will decide on these cases. We are likely to have to wait a while before their decisions are posted publicly.

Twitter Posted An Update About 2FA Authentication

Twitter posted a product update titled: “An update on two-factor authentication using SMS on Twitter”. It was posted on Twitter’s blog on February 15, 2023. From the update:

“We continue to be committed to keeping people safe and secure on Twitter, and a primary security tool we offer to keep your account secure is two-factor authentication (2FA). Instead of entering a password to log in, 2FA requires you to also enter a code or use a security key. This additional step helps make sure that you, and only you, can access your account. To date, we have offered three methods of 2FA: text message, authentication app, and security key.

“While historically a popular form of 2FA, unfortunately we have seen phone-number based 2FA be used – and abused – by bad actors. So starting today, we will no longer allow accounts to enroll in the text message/SMS method of 2FA unless they are Twitter Blue subscribers. The availability of text message 2FA for Twitter Blue may vary by country and carrier.

“Non-Twitter Blue subscribers that are already enrolled will have 30 days to disable this method and enroll in another. After 20 March 2033, we will no longer permit non-Twitter Blue subscribers to use text messages as a 2FA method. At that time, accounts with text message 2FA still enabled will have it disabled. Disabling text message 2FA does not automatically disassociate your phone number from your Twitter account. If you would like to do so, instructions to update your account phone number are available on our Help Center.

“We encourage non-Twitter Blue subscribers to consider using an authentication app or security key method instead. These methods require you to have physical possession of the authentication method and are a great way to ensure your account is secure.”

Engadget reported that Twitter users will soon have to use an authenticator app or a security key to be able to use two-factor authentication if they’re not a Blue subscriber. The website has made text-based 2FA an exclusive feature for members paying for the subscription service.

Engadget also reported that Twitter said it has come to the decision after seeing “phone-number based 2FA be used – and abused – by bad actors.” Some critics are doubting Twitter’s explanation, however, and speculating that the company’s real intention is to add SMS 2FA as one of the features it offers with its subscription service.

NBC News reported that Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted “Yup” in reply to a user tweet that the company was changing policy “because Telcos Used Bot Accounts to Pump 2FA SMS,” and that the company was losing $60 million a year “on scam SMS”.

To my surprise, I actually agree with Elon Musk’s decision to remove the Twitter SMS in favor of having users seek out an authentication app. I’ve been using one for a while on Twitter (and other sites). As stated in the update, only you can access the 2FA app on your phone.

My only concern about this change is that it appears that those who pay for Twitter Blue will still have access to the Twitter SMS app. Based on the update, it sounds like that is actually less protection than what a 2FA app can provide.

Twitter Wants To Charge Bot Creators $100 A Month For API Access

The @TwitterDev account posted a short thread regarding access to Twitter’s API. The thread started with: “We have been busy with some updates to the Twitter API so you can continue to build and innovate with us. We’re excited to announce an extension of the current free Twitter API access through February 13. Here’s what we’re shipping then [thread emoji]”

“Paid basic access that offers low level API usage, and access to Ads API for a $100 monthly fee.”

“A new form of free access will be introduced as this is extremely important to our ecosystem – limited to Tweet creation of up to 1,500 Tweets per month for a single authenticated user token, including Login with Twitter.”

“Also on February 13, we will deprecate the Premium API. If you’re subscribed to Premium, you can apply for Enterprise to continue using these endpoints.”

“This is a new chapter for the Twitter API to increase quality, reduce spam, and enable a thriving ecosystem. We appreciate your patience as we implement these changes and we can’t wait to see what you build next! Stay tuned for more information on continued Twitter API access.”

TechCrunch reported that a week after Twitter made the announcement about shutting down free access to the API, the company will charge $100 per month for the basic tier of API. This will get developers “a low level of API usage” – without specifying what that exactly means – and the Ads API.

According to TechCrunch, the company had planned to shut down free access to its API on February 9, and now it has extended this deadline to February 13. But with no details available around API pricing restructuring and access levels, this extension seems symbolic as developers won’t be able to plan their changes.

TechCrunch also reported that there is a lot of uncertainty around academic research. Under the previous management, the company provided special access to researchers with API v2. However, there is no information that access will be taken away as the social network discontinues its free API tiers. Researchers rely on this data to signal trends around hate speech or misinformation on the platform.

People have also pointed out that engineers building solutions for natural disasters like earthquakes also rely on Twitter API. So discontinuing the free tier will affect those solutions.

Engadget reported that Twitter’s upcoming changes included an update that stated there will be “a new form of free access” that will allow “Tweet creation of up to 1,500 Tweets per month.”

According to Engadget, this clarification means that many of Twitter’s “good” bots – the automated accounts that tweet everything from historical photos to helpful reminders – will be able to continue on the platform. Previously, the future of these accounts was uncertain as many bot makers said they would not pay for API access.

To me, this looks like Elon Musk’s way of generating Twitter’s revenue. He is probably hoping that the majority of bot creators will pay $100 a month in order to keep their bots alive. My best guess is that most of them won’t be able to pay that much money a month – for a limited number of tweets. I think this is going to backfire.

Twitter Introduced 4,000 Character Tweets

Twitter announced that it is releasing 4,000 character Tweets to Twitter Blue subscribers. The announcement was posted on the @TwitterBlue account, and was written with no capitalization other than the words Tweets, Tweeting, Twitter, and “Show more”.

This long thread was posted all at once, in one piece, possibly to attract attention. Somewhere in the long thread it says “… but don’t worry, Twitter is still Twitter. we know longer Tweets could mean a lot of scrolling, so they’ll be capped at 280 characters on your timeline and you’ll see a “Show more” prompt to click and read the whole Tweet.”

The Tweets posted in response to the announcement range from excitement, to a strong “do not want”. Some have tweeted that they want to use this feature to write novels on Twitter, which I personally think is a terrible idea. Don’t give your novel to Twitter! If you must do that, please take the time to post your novel on a space you control, like a blog, before posting it in pieces on Twitter!

Gizmodo posted what I believe is the best response to Twitter’s announcement: “Thanks I Hate It: Twitter Starts Testing Out 4,000 Character Tweets”.

Gizmodo wrote: If you’ve ever been scrolling through Twitter and thought to yourself, ‘I wish all of these posts were SO MUCH longer,” then today is your lucky day. If, however, you are a reasonably well-adjusted internet-user, I unfortunately come bearing bad news. Twitter appears to be officially experimenting with 4,000 character tweets.

Worse still: The ability to clog up feeds with 500+ word posts seems to be currently limited to a test group of paying Twitter Blue subscribers.

The Verge wrote that Twitter has launched a longer tweet feature, giving Blue subscribers in the US the ability to post up to 4,000 characters at once. If someone you follow uses the feature, the tweet in your timeline will have a “show more” button to keep it from taking up your entire screen.

According to The Verge, there are a few limitations to the feature (besides the big one that it’s behind a paywall). If your tweet is over the standard 280 characters, you can’t save it as a draft or schedule it for later. However, most other normal features should work as usual – you can add hashtags or pictures, and non-Blue subscribers will still be able to interact with the posts as normal.

The Verge also reported that there are signs that the feature was rolled out relatively quickly – a Verge staffer who tried it out found that the app kicks you over to a new web view after you write over 280 characters.

Engadget reported that the 4,000 character Tweets feature probably won’t prompt you to switch from social networks like Facebook or Mastodon, where long posts have been available for a while. However, it could be helpful if you’d like to share the same post across multiple social platforms without having to split it up or write a condensed version.

Elon Musk Will Share Twitter Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Users

Elon Musk says that Twitter will start sharing revenue from reply-thread ads with creators who are subscribed Twitter Blue Verified, The Verge reported. According to Musk, “legacy” verified marks will be going away in “a few months.” He says the program will start today, though there are currently few details about how it will work.

According to The Verge, subscribing to Blue will cost you $8 per month if acquired directly via its site or $11 per month from Apple’s App Store or Google Play, but the cheapest version is an annual subscription directly from Twitter for $84. It is unclear how many viral tweets it would take to pay that off, but it could be difficult given Twitter’s rocky relationship with advertisers right now.

The Verge noted that there is still a lot of information that we don’t know, and so far, none of Twitter’s support pages for accounts or creators have posted any details for a program that is apparently starting today.

Mashable reported that Musk announced via his Twitter account that the company would begin sharing ad revenue with content creators on the platform as of today. He said creators will get paid for the ads that show up in replies to their tweets.

In a follow up post, Musk snuck in an added caveat: The creator has to first sign up for a paid Twitter Blue subscription ($8 on the web, $11 on iOS devices) before they can take part in the ad revenue share program.

Mashable also reported that Musk did not provide any details aside from the Twitter Blue requirement. There has been no additional information about this program that ostensibly starts today – not from Musk, and not from any of Twitter’s official accounts.

If you are a creator, Mashable pointed out, you should be extremely wary of this right now. Twitter has not shared what the revenue share is, such as what percentage each side would be getting. The company did not explain if the pay would be based on impressions (i.e. how many times an ad is viewed), or if it would be based on how many times an ad was clicked on. Would the revenue share actually be engagement, such as how many interactions, such as likes or retweets, an ad receives? Who knows?

Personally, I think Elon Musk’s idea of monetizing creators through Twitter Blue Verified is very flawed. As The Verge and Mashable reported, there is no information about how it works or what creators will be paid.

This comes after Twitter announced it would “no longer support free access to the Twitter API”. There was a lot of pushback from disgruntled app creators. As I suspected, if Twitter couldn’t push the app creators into paying for the API, it would target users and attempt to extract money from them. That’s what’s happening with Twitter Blue Verified.

Twitter To End Free Access To Its API

Twitter will discontinue offering free access to the Twitter API starting February 9 and will launch a paid version, the Elon Musk-owned microblogging website said as it looks for more avenues to monetize the platform, TechCrunch reported.

In a series of tweets, the Twitter Developer account said the firm will be ending support for both legacy and v.1.1 and the new v2 of its Twitter APIs. According to TechCrunch, Twitter did not immediately say how much it plans to charge for API usage.

The move follows Twitter abruptly changing the terms of its API in recent weeks that were used by many popular Twitter clients such as Tweetbot and Twitterific. Most third-party Twitter apps have shut down their mobile apps.

“Twitter data are among the world’s most powerful data sets. We’re committed to enabling fast & comprehensive access so you can continue to build with us,” Twitter Dev account said Thursday. “Over the years, hundreds of millions of people have sent over a trillion Tweets, with billions more every week.”

TechCrunch also reported that researchers also use the Twitter API. Twitter’s new announcement might impact research in different areas including hate speech and online abuse. Universities often use Twitter to study human behavior in different regions.

Financial Times reported that Twitter has begun applying for regulatory licenses across the US and designing the software required to introduce payments across the social media platform, as Elon Musk searches for new revenues to turn around the business.

According to Financial Times, these moves to allow payments through the site are a critical part of Musk’s plan to open up fresh revenue streams. Twitter’s $5bn-a-year advertising business has cratered since he bought the platform for $44bn in October, with marketers citing concerns over its management and content moderation.

Financial Times also reported that Musk has said he wants Twitter to offer fintech services such as peer-to-peer transactions, saving accounts and debit cards, as part of a master plan to launch an “everything app” that incorporates messaging, payments and commerce.

Engadget reported that developers will soon have to pay Twitter to be able to use its API. Twitter will launch a “paid basic tier”, but the company has yet to reveal how much it would cost.

If I’m understanding this correctly, at this moment, Twitter is hoping that app developers will choose to pay Twitter … for whatever amount Twitter eventually reveals. I suspect that most developers will choose not to pay for Twitter’s API and will leave the social media site.

If the developers refuse to pay for access to Twitter’s API, Mr. Musk is going to look elsewhere to monetize Twitter. My concern is that he will start charging Twitter users a fee for using the platform.