Soon, sending DMs to those who don’t follow you won’t be possible — unless you’re a Twitter Blue subscriber.
The update, which will also apply to group chats, is on track to release this week, signaling an end to the era when anyone could DM anyone.
While this move is designed to fight bots spamming people’s inboxes, it’ll also have repercussions for people like journalists who rely on DMs to contact sources and establish connections.
“Hopefully releasing the update this week,” Musk said in a tweet. “As I’ve said many times, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between AI bots. Soon, it will be impossible. The only ‘social networks’ that survive will be those that require verification. The payment system is a means of verification that increases bot cost by ~10,000X.”
As many have noted, paying an arbitrary fee each month is a questionable way to “verify” someone’s identity. With that said, Musk may have a point that bot networks won’t see fit to pay money to flood people’s inboxes, at least not at the frequency they do now. Time will tell whether the DM feature shift has the intended outcome.
On the flip side, another outcome of the change is that those who need to privately reach out to people outside their immediate circles are going to have a harder time.
This is horrible for journalists,” tweeted IGN senior reporter Rebekah Valentine, reacting to the news. “It will eliminate the ability for us to reach out to sources easily and privately, and for them to reach us. This is a massively important feature of this platform for me and others about to vanish.”
This move gives the otherwise feature-light Twitter Blue subscription service a fresh lure for those not impressed by the offering thus far, albeit at the cost of standard Twitter accounts everywhere.
Between monetizing Twitter in new ways via Blue and other changes, including a new CEO in Linda Yaccarino, all eyes are on whether the platform can turn its monetary misfortunes around in a timely fashion.