On-chain sleuth ZachXBT says X’s controversial ‘not a bot’ fee unlikely to eliminate scams

Crypto commentator ZachXBT criticized an annual fee that X now requires from new accounts.

ZachXBT wrote on April 15 that the new policy will not eliminate bot account-driven scams because “hundreds of business verified scam accounts” come online weekly. Scammers reportedly pay thousands of dollars for the fake accounts.

He said that he is not opposed to Elon Musk’s management of X but is not confident that the social media platform understands the extent of the black market for verified accounts.

He also warned that the policy “kills user growth.”

As evidence of the widespread nature of scam accounts, ZachXBT posted a screenshot featuring several fake accounts promising rewards related to the interoperability protocol Wormhole. Many of the fake accounts had gold checkmarks under X’s existing verification policies.

Not a bot fee

X updated its policy on April 15 to require new users to pay a small annual fee before posting, liking, bookmarking, and replying as a spam-prevention measure.

In October 2023, the company began to test the policy in New Zealand and the Philippines with a subscription model called “not a bot,” which included a $1 annual fee. The latest update extends a similar policy to new users in other regions.

Musk, who serves as CTO and executive chairman of X, confirmed and attempted to justify the new policy in a post. He said the new fee grants “write access” on the site and called the policy the “only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots.”

Musk linked the bot problem to AI and troll farms but did not explicitly address the issue of crypto scams, which have caused significant losses to users.

Public data shows that crypto scams are highly profitable. In October 2023, the US Federal Trade Commission said social media scams brought in $2.7 billion over a multi-year period. Crypto was involved in 53% of social media scams in the first half of 2023.

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