Elon Musk tweeted a cryptic message on Friday that might have been a warning to Twitter bots. Only two emojis—a grave and a robot—and no text made up the tweet, which may be interpreted as “RIP bots.” The tweet included a status update that read “soon.”
Speculations about what the Twitter CEO meant immediately began. “Elon destroying bots on twitter,” one user wrote.
Another user wrote, “I think this means he’s buying a dead god.”
An account called Robot, with the handle of the same name, tweeted another set of emojis – a grave and a man, taking a dig at Musk’s original tweet.
When one user asked, “whats this mean lol,” another replied promptly, “all bots removed.”
For months before completing his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, Musk complained of a high number of spam-bot accounts on the site.
The argument surrounding Musk’s initial attempt to back out of the acquisition deal had revolved around bots on Twitter. Despite having previously stated that he wanted to buy the company to address its bot problem, Musk moved to terminate the contract less than three months after agreeing to it and waiving due diligence in the process. Musk cited claims that Twitter had misreported the number of bots on its platform.
Last week, the billionaire established a price of $8 for a blue tick before suspending it yesterday. Previously, only verified accounts of public figures including journalists, legislators, and well-known people could display the coveted blue check mark. But earlier this week, Twitter launched a membership option that is available to anyone willing to pay in order to increase revenue as Musk battles to keep advertisers.
Since the recent roll-out, fake accounts posing as well-known companies have appeared with the blue check, including Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX, as well as Roblox, Nestle, pharma giant Eli Lilly, and Lockheed Martin, resulting in some of these companies suffering billions in losses.
Twitter’s support account, which has the “official” tag, tweeted on Friday, “To combat impersonation, we’ve added an ‘Official’ label to some accounts.”
Musk has stated that accounts that employ impersonation on Twitter without explicitly designating it as “parody” accounts would be immediately and permanently removed. Several phony brand accounts have been suspended, including those of Nintendo and BP.
“We’re adding a “Parody” subscript to clarify,” he added.