Ripple CTO Confronts Elon Musk Over New User Fees on X

Key Takeaways

  • Ripple’s CTO David Schwartz challenges Elon Musk’s new policy to charge X users, saying it contradicts his proclaimed advocacy for absolute free speech;
  • The policy is aimed at reducing bot activity;
  • The crypto community remains divided on the policy’s effectiveness.

Ripple’s Chief Technology Officer, David Schwartz, has openly criticized Elon Musk’s recent decision to charge new users of X, claiming it contradicts Musk’s proclaimed support for free speech.

Under the new policy, new users must pay a small fee to post, like, reply, or bookmark on the platform.

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Musk argues that this measure is designed to deter bots and spam, which he says have grown sophisticated enough to bypass standard security measures. The policy is already in place in New Zealand and the Philippines.

Despite Musk’s explanation, Ripple’s CTO, David Schwartz, stated that the policy contradicts the platform’s foundational principles and Musk’s commitment to “absolute” free speech.

The debate escalated with comments from an X user, who defended Musk by saying that the policy aims to silence bots rather than people, which is a big difference.

Schwartz countered that the actual big difference between the two lies in whether Musk cares about it or not, arguing that the policy protects only speech that aligns with his preferences. The CTO also added:

Again, I’m not the one who made the stupid argument that all lawful speech should be allowed on this platform. I recognize that annoying low-value speech, though lawful, makes this platform worse.

ZachXBT, a prominent figure in the crypto investigation community, also weighed in, questioning the effectiveness of this policy. He highlighted that scam accounts already pay “thousands of dollars” to get verified on X, so a small fee would be an insufficient obstacle.

This policy and the debates it has sparked reflect the broader challenges of finding the balance between combating the misuse of social media and upholding the ideals of free speech.

Meanwhile, Musk is securing up to $4 billion in funding for the AI startup xAI, which has debuted its open-source chatbot Grok.

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