X has been trying to find buyers for user handles it reclaimed from inactive accounts, even going so far as to send out solicitation emails asking for “a flat fee of $50,000 to initiate a purchase,” according to Forbes. Elon Musk announced back in May that X, formerly Twitter, would start purging accounts that have gone dormant, and has alluded to plans for recycling disused handles.
According to emails seen by Forbes, X now has a task force called the “@Handle Team” that’s working on creating a marketplace for buying handles tied to inactive accounts. X changed its policy this year to stipulate that users must log in every 30 days to remain active, and risk having their accounts suspended or permanently removed if they go long enough without signing on. It’s unclear how long a user would have to remain inactive for to actually be booted from the platform. After NPR quit the site this past spring, Musk began threatening to reassign its handle just a few weeks later.
As of now, obtaining another user’s inactive handle doesn’t seem to be something just anybody can do. X’s website still says it cannot release inactive usernames. But, the Forbes report suggests the company is looking at the possibility of a handle marketplace as yet another way to pull in money from its users. The company just recently introduced two new subscription tiers for paid users — a $16 per month Premium+ tier and a more pared-down $3 per month “basic” tier.