X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has initiated a new subscription plan, charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines a modest $1 annual fee. This move, which grants access to key platform functions, such as tweeting, replying, retweeting, and liking, aims to combat the increasing issue of bots and spammers on the platform.
The subscription plan, referred to as ‘Not A Bot,’ was officially unveiled on October 17th, 2023. This measure has been developed to reinforce the platform’s ongoing efforts to reduce spam, manipulation, and bot activity. Existing users are not affected by this new subscription method. Read Here: What is ‘Not A Bot’.
Under this subscription model, new users in New Zealand and the Philippines must first verify their phone numbers and then pay the $1 annual fee to unlock features like posting, liking, replying, reposting, quoting posts, and bookmarking. Users who choose not to subscribe will only be able to perform “read only” actions, such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts. The price for this subscription roughly equates to NZ$1.43 and 42.51 Philippine pesos.
The primary objective of this program is to defend against bots and spammers that disrupt the experience of genuine X users. The company is eager to evaluate the results of this initiative and share them in the near future. It’s important to note that the new charge is part of a beta program, and users who sign up must agree to a recurring subscription payment. Read Here Official Announcement: Twitter/X introduces $1 annual fee
Elon Musk, the owner of X, had previously hinted at the potential of charging all users during a conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. However, the current plan is restricted to new users. Musk’s rationale for introducing a fee is to deter bot operators. He pointed out that setting up bots is incredibly cheap, costing only “a fraction of a penny.” By increasing the cost of creating an account to “a few dollars or something,” it could discourage bot operators. Furthermore, requiring a new payment method for every new bot would add an additional layer of complexity to bot creation.
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Notably, X had previously introduced the X premium blue tick product, which costs $11 a month in the US for iPhones, £11 in the UK, and A$19. However, scammers continued to exploit X premium accounts to target users on the platform. This new move to charge new users aligns with Musk’s exploration of alternative revenue streams to advertising. He envisions X as an “everything” app, including payment services.
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Musk has also cited a decline in ad revenue due to advertiser boycotts and concerns regarding the platform’s management of inappropriate or hateful content, which he claims has led to a 60% drop in ad revenue. In response to these challenges, the introduction of a subscription fee for new users appears to be a strategic move to both combat spam and boost the platform’s financial viability.