Recently, X (formerly Twitter) confirmed it would begin charging new users $1 per year to use the platform. According to the social media company, the new program is called “Not a Bot,” which is currently being tested in New Zealand and the Philippines.
Reportedly, the subscription model will require users to verify their phone number and pay $1 per year to access the key functions of X, such as liking, retweeting, and bookmarking posts. Users who do not pay the fee can only use the platform in “read mode.”
“As of October 17th, 2023 we’ve started testing ‘Not A Bot,’ a new subscription method for new users in two countries,” according to X. “This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity. This will evaluate a potentially powerful measure to help us combat bots and spammers on X, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount.”
The official X Support page commented on the new initiative, clarifying that the program’s rollout in the two countries would only apply to new users. The support account illustrated the need to continue filtering out bot activity to improve the overall experience.
“Starting today, we’re testing a new program (Not A Bot) in New Zealand and the Philippines. New, unverified accounts will be required to sign up for a $1 annual subscription to be able to post & interact with other posts. Within this test, existing users are not affected. This new test was developed to bolster our already successful efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount. It is not a profit driver. And so far, subscription options have proven to be the main solution that works at scale.”
Starting today, we're testing a new program (Not A Bot) in New Zealand and the Philippines. New, unverified accounts will be required to sign up for a $1 annual subscription to be able to post & interact with other posts. Within this test, existing users are not affected.
— Support (@Support) October 17, 2023
Since taking over the social media platform, Elon Musk indicated a subscription-based model would effectively combat bot spam.d However, speculation has grown that Musk will eventually force all users to pay a fee to use the platform. In a recent conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk seemed to suggest that he was considering a mandatory fee payment from users.
When Musk took over Twitter late last year, the billionaire enacted sweeping changes at the company, such as mass layoffs that reduced the company’s size by approximately 80 percent. Musk has also gutted various teams at X, where, most recently, he significantly downsized the “Election Integrity” team.
“Oh you mean the “Election Integrity” Team that was undermining election integrity? Yeah, they’re gone,” Mr. Musk said regarding the firings within that team. Musk also indicated that X was grossly overstaffed, claiming there was no need for the number of employees the company previously had. “Turns out, you don’t need all that many people to run Twitter,” he said. “I mean, if you’re not trying to run some sort of glorified activist organization, and you don’t care that much about censorship, then you can really let go of a lot of people it turns out.”
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