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X to go behind paywall?

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Elon Musk has suggested that all users of X, formerly called Twitter, may have to pay for access to the platform.

In a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the billionaire said a payment system was the only way to counter bots.

“We’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the system,” the Tesla and SpaceX boss said.

The BBC approached X for further details but has not yet received a statement from the company.

It is unclear whether this was just an off-the-cuff comment, or a signal of firmer plans that have yet to be announced.

Mr Musk has long said that his solution for getting rid of bots and fake accounts on the social media platform is charging for verification.

Since taking over Twitter last year he has looked to incentivise users to pay for an enhanced service, which is now called X Premium.

This has been done by giving paid subscribers more features, like longer posts and increased visibility on the platform.

However, users can currently still use X for free.

Although there is a clear financial interest for the company to charge users, Mr Musk insisted that getting people to pay for the service is aimed at tackling bots.

“A bot costs a fraction of a penny” to make he said. “But if somebody even has to pay a few dollars or something, some minor amount, the effective cost to bots is very high”.

X Premium currently costs $8 (£6.50) a month in the US. The price differs depending on which country a subscriber is in.

The world’s richest person said that he was now looking at cheaper options for users.

“We’re actually going to come up with a lower tier pricing. So we just want it to be just a small amount of money,” he said.

“This is a longer discussion, but in my view, this is actually the only defence against vast armies of bots,” Mr Musk added.

However, a risk is that by putting X behind a paywall it may lose a large chunk of its users. That in turn, could drive down advertising revenue, which currently accounts for the vast majority of the company’s income.

Mr Musk’s conversation with the Israeli prime minister also touched on antisemitism on X.

The platform has been accused by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) campaign group of not doing enough to stop antisemitic content.

In a statement, the organisation said that Mr Musk was “engaging with and elevating” antisemites.

Earlier this month, he said that the company would sue the ADL to “clear our platform’s name”.

In the conversation with Mr Netanyahu, Mr Musk reiterated that he was “against antisemitism”.

Mr Netanyahu accepted the balance between free speech and content moderation was a challenge but urged Mr Musk to get the balance right.

“I hope you find within the confines of the First Amendment, the ability to stop not only antisemitism… but any collective hatred of people that antisemitism represents,” he said.

“I know you’re committed to that”, Mr Netanyahu added.

(BBC News)

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WhatsApp makes it easier to find chats

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WhatsApp is making it easier to find chats by introducing new features, US technology news website ‘The Verge’ has reported. 

Meta is launching new filters that will appear at the top of your chat list: All (the default view), Unread (just messages marked as unread), and Groups (group chats and Community subgroups), it notes.

The filters start rolling out from Tuesday (16) and will become available to all WhatsApp users “in the coming weeks.”

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Indigo launches Mumbai-Colombo direct flights

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Indigo has expanded its connectivity to Sri Lanka adding Mumbai-Colombo direct flights from today (12), Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Limited said.

Accordingly, Indigo will operate flights three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

At present, Indigo operates to three destinations in India from Colombo (Chennai twice daily, Bengaluru once daily and Hyderabad six days per week). With this new route expansion, this will increase to four destinations, and it will contribute immensely to the development of travel, trade and tourism between Sri Lanka and India. 

With the new addition, Indigo will operate 30 weekly flights to Colombo from four main cities in India.

“AASL recently had successful negotiations with Indigo to commence flight operations between Jaffna and Chennai, India. Accordingly, Indigo will commence direct flight operations between Jaffna and Chennai from June 1, 2024 onwards with daily flight operations. This connectivity will boost travel and trade in the Northern Province, strengthening the cultural and religious bonds between the two nations”, Eng. Athula Galketiya, Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Limited (AASL) said.

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Questions raised on investing in the Ceylon Dollar Bond

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Personal Foreign Currency Accounts (PFCs) and Business Foreign Currency Accounts  (BFCAs) cannot be invested in the Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund, says a spokesman of the Foreign Exchange Department at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

He said that banks are well aware of this.

The spokesman was responding to ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ on queries raised on social media promotions being done by Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd, with regard to such investments.

Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd. is also a company that is registered with the CSE.

The spokesman further notes that the CBSL has only permitted them to invest in ISBs.

However, promotions done by the company have indicated that dollar investments can also be done through PFCs, and that the investors can expect around a 24% dollar returns.

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Experts state that expecting such high profits in ISB investments, is questionable.

Upon contacting the DG of Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd, – Dulindra Fernando, he briefly stated that the CBSL has permitted their company to do such foreign fund transfers while some banks have refused to do so.

However, he urged to submit a formal request via email for further details.

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