X (formerly Twitter
) is charging $1 annually under a new subscription method designed to combat spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform. The “Not A Bot” program applies only to new accounts in New Zealand and the Philippines, and won’t affect existing users.
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“This new program aims to defend against bots and spammers who attempt to manipulate the platform and disrupt the experience of other X users,” the Elon Musk-owned company said in a post on its help center
The $1 fee will allow users to post content, reply to other users, repost or quote other accounts, like posts, and bookmark content. New users can proceed with a free “read only” account, which enables them to only view content.
X didn’t explain why the $1 subscription is rolling out only in these two countries, nor why users signing up via the website have to pay the annual fee and not those creating accounts from their mobile devices. It could be that the company has seen more bot activity in New Zealand and the Philippines than in other regions and it’s easier to create fake profiles via the site.
As an additional measure against bots, X will now ask users from New Zealand and the Philippines to verify accounts with a phone number.
“Not A Bot” is not X’s only subscription model. Starting at $8/month, “X Premium” grants users a blue checkmark and early access to features like Edit Post
, longer video uploads, and encrypted direct messaging.
Elon Musk has suggested in the past that the microblogging platform won’t stay free under his leadership. As a “free speech absolutist,” Musk has also reinstated formerly banned accounts and even announced that blocking users will no longer be possible on X. Users will still be able to block direct messages.
According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit hate speech watchdog, ”hate and disinformation is spreading like wildfire on the platform under Musk’s ownership.” Musk denied these claims and fired back with a lawsuit against the organization
. It remains to be seen whether the new “Not A Bot” subscription method will be effective in the fight against bots that spread harmful and fabricated content across the platform.