Elon Musk Wants To Turn X Into A Payment Network: A New Attack On Freedom Of Expression?

Originally Posted: Publish0x



Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of companies such as Tesla, SpaceX and According to him, this measure is the only way to combat the "huge armies of bots" that flood the platform with false, political or hate messages. But is this really the reason Musk wants to charge for using X? Or is this a new attempt to control information and public opinion, taking advantage of the popularity and reach of the social network? What consequences will this decision have for users, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized? The answer is simple: A great business.


There is no doubt that Musk is an astute and ambitious businessman, that he has known how to take advantage of the opportunities that the world of technology has offered him. His companies are leaders in sectors such as automotive, aerospace and solar energy. His personal fortune is estimated at more than $200 billion, making him one of the richest people on the planet. But he is also a controversial and controversial man, who has not been shy about expressing his opinions on topics as diverse as artificial intelligence, climate change, cryptocurrencies or the pandemic. His statements have often generated criticism, ridicule and even lawsuits. He has also been accused of exploiting his workers, evading taxes, manipulating the market or violating safety regulations.


With the purchase of X, Musk took over one of the most influential and used social networks in the world, with more than 500 million active users per month. X has become a source of information, entertainment and debate for millions of people, who share their opinions, news, memes or videos in 140 characters. It has also been a key tool for social movements, activists, journalists or politicians, who have used the platform to denounce injustices, spread their ideas or mobilize their followers.


However, since Musk took the reins of X, he has made several changes that have affected the operation and content of the social network, for example:


❌ He laid off thousands of employees, reducing the human team in charge of managing and moderating the platform.


❌ He introduced a payment option called "blue ticket", which allows users to access exclusive features such as editing messages, scheduling posts or viewing statistics.


❌ Eliminated or decreased content moderation, allowing any user to publish whatever they want without restrictions or sanctions. This has caused an increase in offensive, false or illegal messages on the social network.


❌ Restored accounts previously banned for violating X's rules, including that of former US President Donald Trump, who was banned from the platform in January 2021 for inciting violence following the assault on the Capitol.


These changes have had a negative impact on X's advertising revenue, which has dropped by half since July. For this reason, Musk has now raised the possibility of charging all users a monthly fee to use the social network. According to him, this would serve to combat bots, which are fake accounts created by computer programs to manipulate or amplify certain messages.


But is this really the solution to the bot problem? Or is this simply an excuse to extract more money from users and increase their power over the platform? Bots are a complex phenomenon and difficult to combat. It is estimated that there are between 10 and 15% of fake accounts on X, which can have various purposes: from spamming, spreading propaganda, generating traffic, influencing trends, to attacking or harassing other users.


Bots can be created by individuals, organizations, companies or governments, with different motivations and interests. Some bots are harmless or even beneficial, such as those that offer useful information, services, or entertainment. Other bots are malicious or harmful, such as those that spread misinformation, hate, or violence. The existence of bots poses several challenges for the social network and for users. On the one hand, it makes verification and quality of the information circulating on the platform difficult, which can generate confusion, distrust or polarization. On the other hand, it alters the representativeness and authenticity of the opinions and interactions that occur on the social network, which can affect the formation of public opinion and democratic participation. An attack on freedom?


However, charging users a monthly fee does not seem to be an effective or fair measure to solve the bot problem. For several reasons, these measures do not guarantee that all bots are eliminated since their creators may find other ways to avoid payment or assume the cost if it compensates them for the benefit they obtain. Additionally, there may be legitimate or authorized bots that pay to use the platform. But the biggest dilemma is that it penalizes real users, many users will not be able or will not want to pay to use who will lose a source of information, communication and expression.




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