- X has started testing its $1 annual subscription for new users in select countries to combat spam and bots. The program aims to improve platform integrity. Existing users remain unaffected, and the fee is seen as a deterrent against bots. This move aligns with Musk's efforts to make X more profitable and reduce reliance on ad revenue.
Elon Musk’s social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter) has initiated a trial program requiring new users in New Zealand and the Philippines to pay a $1 annual subscription fee for certain posting and interaction privileges. The move is aimed at combating spam and bot accounts, an ongoing challenge for the social media platform. Existing users are not affected by this trial.
The program, named ‘Not A Bot’, is designed to bolster X’s efforts to reduce spam, manipulation, and bot activities on its platform. New users in the trial countries must verify their accounts with a phone number and opt for the annual subscription to actively post, like, reply, repost, quote posts, and bookmark. Those who opt out can only perform ‘read only’ actions, such as viewing posts and watching videos.
“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,” the company said.
Elon Musk clarified that this charge is primarily a strategy to deter bots without hindering genuine users. He acknowledged that bots can be created at a very low cost, and this small fee can deter mass creation of fake accounts, as each bot would require a unique payment method.
“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.”
This move comes as part of Musk’s efforts to shift X towards profitability and reduce its reliance on advertising revenue, which has declined significantly. The $1 annual fee is seen as a minor charge that might deter bot operators. However, X emphasizes that the motive behind this program is not profit generation, but rather to enhance platform integrity and user experience.
This isn’t the first step in this direction; X has previously introduced a premium subscription, called X Premium, priced at $8 a month, providing additional features. Musk had hinted at this subscription model during a conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, emphasizing its role in combating bot activities.
As X tests this subscription-based approach, it raises questions about the potential implications for users worldwide. The trial’s success and feedback from users in New Zealand and the Philippines will likely determine whether this program will be extended globally.