X Introduces Annual Subscription for New and Unverified Users.
X, formerly known as Twitter, has implemented a new program requiring new and unverified users to pay a $1 annual subscription fee in order to sign up. This initiative, named “Not A Bot,” aims to combat spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform.
Reducing Spam and Bot Activity
The introduction of the annual subscription fee is part of X’s ongoing efforts to reduce spam and the influence of automated bot accounts. Elon Musk, the CEO of X, has emphasized the importance of finding effective solutions to combat bot activity, stating that the subscription fee is a way to make it more difficult for bots to manipulate the platform.
In a tweet, Musk highlighted the rationale behind the annual subscription fee, noting that it is “the only way to fight bots without blocking real users”. While the fee may not completely eliminate bot activity, it is expected to significantly deter manipulation attempts.
Testing in New Zealand and the Philippines
To assess the effectiveness of the program, X is currently testing the annual subscription model in New Zealand and the Philippines. This limited trial allows new, unverified accounts in these countries to sign up for the $1 annual subscription and engage with other users.
Existing users are not affected by the trial, and they can continue to use the platform without any changes. The focus of this test is to evaluate the impact of the subscription fee on reducing spam and bot activity while maintaining platform accessibility.
Balancing Platform Accessibility and Fee Amount
X has emphasized that the annual subscription fee is not intended as a profit driver. Instead, it aims to strike a balance between accessibility and the small fee amount. The platform has found that subscription options have proven to be an effective measure against spam and manipulation at scale.
In its statement, X clarified that the fee is designed to support its ongoing efforts to combat spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform. By introducing a subscription model, X aims to create a barrier for potential bot operators, making it more challenging and expensive for them to engage in malicious activities.
How the Program Works
To participate in the annual subscription program, new users in the testing countries need to follow a two-step process:
Step 1: Phone Verification
New accounts created on X in New Zealand and the Philippines will first need to verify their phone numbers. This verification step is aimed at ensuring the authenticity of new user accounts.
Step 2: Selecting a Subscription Plan
After completing the phone verification process, new users will be prompted to select a subscription plan. The available options include:
- $1 USD Annual Fee: This subscription plan allows new users to perform various actions on the web version of X, such as posting content, liking posts, replying to posts, reposting, and quoting other accounts’ posts.
- X Premium: This subscription plan is available for verified organizations and offers additional features, including an edit button, prioritized rankings in conversations and search, longer posts, text formatting, and fewer ads.
Users who choose not to subscribe will still have access to read-only actions, such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts.
Future Plans and Global Rollout
While the annual subscription program is currently being tested in New Zealand and the Philippines, there is speculation that X may extend it to other countries in the future. Elon Musk previously mentioned the possibility of introducing a paywall for all X users, emphasizing the need to address the challenges posed by bot activity.
As X continues to evolve under Musk’s leadership, the platform aims to explore various monetization strategies and features that can enhance its sustainability and combat issues such as spam and manipulation. The annual subscription model is one step in this direction, providing a potential solution to the presence of bots on the platform.
User Reactions and Challenges
The introduction of the annual subscription fee has generated mixed reactions from users. Some express skepticism about the program’s effectiveness in curbing bot activity, citing ongoing issues with spam and the presence of verified accounts engaging in suspicious behavior.
It remains to be seen whether the annual subscription fee will effectively deter bot operators and reduce spam on the platform. As X gathers data and feedback from the trial in New Zealand and the Philippines, it may refine its approach and make adjustments to ensure the program’s effectiveness.