Mar 27, 2023
Twitter’s ‘For You’ Feed Won’t Recommend Unverified Accounts
(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc.’s “For You” feed, the default view for users of the social network, will no longer recommend content from accounts that aren’t verified, owner Elon Musk tweeted on Monday.
The change, effective April 15, will mean only verified accounts — those paying an $8 monthly fee or associated with a verified organization — are eligible to have their tweets suggested in the timeline that appears when most users open the app. Voting in Twitter polls will also require verification, Musk added.
He followed up with a tweet on Tuesday to note that people will still see accounts they have chosen to follow in ‘For You,’ even if they’re unverified.
Twitter’s “For You” page is a non-chronological feed intended to surface more popular and engaging content, though new measures Musk is enacting are increasingly making the platform more of a two-tier system, with unpaid users left out of many formerly free features. Doing so, Musk explained, is “the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over,” though he didn’t offer evidence of such groups operating on the platform.
Part of the sales pitch for Twitter’s subscription product, Twitter Blue, explicitly states the $8 fee will help accounts “rocket to the top of replies, mentions and search.” The latest move amplifies that prioritization. The web and app versions of the social network still offer a “Following” tab, where users can see a time-ordered view mostly composed of the accounts they already follow.
Starting April 1, Twitter will start removing legacy verification marks, stripping away the blue check marks from any users not paying the fee and unaffiliated with large organizations. The move may impact independent journalists and other peripheral voices most heavily, running counter to Musk’s professed goal of trying to ensure free speech on Twitter.
The San Francisco-based company also has a further level of differentiation with a celebrity VIP list, Platformer reported Monday. Well-known figures such as NBA star LeBron James, US President Joe Biden and Musk himself have their visibility boosted further on the platform, according to the report. This would contradict Musk’s position, articulated in recent days, that “there shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities.”
(Updates to add Musk’s tweet on Tuesday in third paragraph.)
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