The latest turn in the Elon Musk-directed platform X, previously known as Twitter, is that users can now block unverified accounts from replying to their posts.

This change arrives about 11 months after Musk launched paid verification for Twitter Blue, apportioning blue checkmark labels to people willing to part with $7.99 per month. It also means it could be harder for those who don’t pay for the service (with the exception of accounts forced into verified status) to refute misinformation, which researchers report has continued to increase.

The new menu for locking replies. Image: X

There’s an argument that limiting replies to accounts verified by payment, phone number, or perhaps even government ID could reduce harassment, trolling, and misinformation.

However, that argument is quickly undone, whether by the continued presence of bots with verified labels or a quick look at the current state of the platform. Since X already prioritizes replies from verified accounts, it’s easy to evaluate the quality of threads populated by paid checkmark posters. One response to X’s post announcing the feature’s availability, from “Dave the reply guy,” gleefully called it “pay to win mode.”

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