X tests $1 annual fee for new users to combat bots and spam

X, the social media platform that was formerly known as Twitter, has launched a new experiment to charge new users a $1 annual fee to access basic features such as posting, liking, and replying. The test, called “Not A Bot”, aims to reduce spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform, while maintaining accessibility for genuine users.

What is Not A Bot?

Not A Bot is a new program that X started testing on Tuesday in New Zealand and the Philippines. New users who sign up for X on the web will be required to pay a $1 annual subscription fee to be able to post and interact with other posts. Existing users are not affected by this test.

X, the social media
X, the social media

According to X’s blog post, the fee is not a profit driver, but rather a potential measure to combat bots and spammers on X. Bots are automated accounts that can flood the platform with unwanted content, such as spam, hate speech, or misinformation. They can also manipulate the platform by inflating the popularity of certain posts or topics, or by influencing public opinion or elections.

X said that subscription options have proven to be the most effective way to tackle bots and spam on the platform, as they create a barrier for bot operators to set up fake accounts. By requiring a payment method and a small fee for each account, X hopes to deter bot activity and improve the quality and authenticity of the platform.

How does Not A Bot affect users?

Users who choose not to pay the $1 annual fee will still be able to use X in read-only mode. They can read posts, watch videos, and follow accounts, but they cannot write posts, like, reply, or bookmark. They can also access other features such as Spaces, Topics, and Lists.

Users who pay the $1 annual fee will be able to use X normally, with all the basic features available. They can also upgrade to Premium if they want more advanced features, such as an edit button, text formatting, longer posts, prioritized rankings, and fewer ads. Premium costs from $84 a year.

X said that it will evaluate the results of the test and gather feedback from users before deciding whether to expand Not A Bot to other countries or regions. It also said that it will continue to invest in other ways to improve the health and security of the platform, such as verification, moderation, and enforcement.

Why did X change its name from Twitter?

X is the new name of the social media platform that was formerly known as Twitter. The name change was announced in September 2023 by Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter in 2022 for $44 billion.

Musk said that he wanted to rebrand the platform to reflect its evolution from a microblogging site to a more diverse and innovative social network. He also said that he wanted to distance the platform from its past controversies and challenges, such as censorship, harassment, misinformation, and hacking.

X stands for “eXpress”, which Musk said represents the core value of the platform: allowing users to express themselves freely and creatively. He also said that X is a simple and catchy name that can appeal to a global audience.

X has retained some of the features and symbols of Twitter, such as the blue bird logo, the 280-character limit, and the hashtag. However, it has also introduced new features and changes, such as video calls, Spaces (audio chat rooms), Topics (curated feeds), Lists (customized timelines), and Premium (subscription tier).

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