What you need to know
- X, formerly known as Twitter, is implementing a $1 annual subscription for new users in New Zealand and the Philippines in an effort to reduce spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform.
- New users in these countries will also need to verify their accounts with a phone number, though the subscription is only for new users joining via the web.
- Users who opt out of subscribing will only be able to view content, not interact with it.
X (formerly Twitter) is implementing a $1 annual fee for new users in New Zealand and the Philippines, and those who refuse to pay will be restricted to spectator mode—unable to post, reply, repost, quote, bookmark, or even like content on the web.
The new subscription method requires new users to pay up every year to unlock all of the site’s core features, but those who are already on the platform can keep using it for free. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a “read-only” account, only able to view posts, watch videos, and follow accounts.
Correct, read for free, but $1/year to write. It’s the only way to fight bots without blocking real users.This won’t stop bots completely, but it will be 1000X harder to manipulate the platform.October 18, 2023
Last month, during a live-streamed conversation about AI with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Elon Musk hinted at introducing a paid model to tackle bots and spam, so this new subscription fee isn’t exactly a shock.
“This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity,” the company said in a support page. “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.”
X’s support team made it clear that this “Not A Bot” initiative isn’t about making money, but rather about weeding out fake accounts. As part of the program, new users will need to verify their phone numbers.
This new subscription method comes in addition to X’s existing subscription plans, including the $8 monthly X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue) and the $1000 monthly Verified Organization plan.
Although this new subscription model is only being tested in two countries for now, it’s bound to stir up rumors that X might eventually charge everyone. Even if it’s just a small fee, the thought of paying for something that used to be free might drive some people away from the platform instead of bringing them in.