On October 17, Elon Musk’s X, previously Twitter, started charging a $1 annual fee for new users in New Zealand and the Philippines as part of a subscription trial, the company announced on the same day.
The strategy, X says, aims to “defend against bots and spammers who attempt to manipulate the platform and disrupt the experience of other X users.”
“As of October 17th, 2023 we’ve started testing ‘Not A Bot’, a new subscription method for new users in two countries. This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity,” X wrote in the statement announcing the move.
“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 added.
Starting today, we're testing a new program (Not A Bot) in New Zealand and the Philippines. New, unverified accounts will be required to sign up for a $1 annual subscription to be able to post & interact with other posts. Within this test, existing users are not affected.
— Support (@Support) October 17, 2023
While users can still create profiles on X without paying the fee, without the subscription they won’t be able to tweet, retweet, reply, bookmark, or like.
“New users who opt out of subscribing will only be able to take ‘read only’ actions, such as: read posts, watch videos, and follow accounts,” X explains, adding that new users who want to be able to use the regular features will also need to verify their phone numbers.
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As to existing users, the company says they won’t be affected. Whether the subscription fee will be implemented in other countries remains unclear.
Since Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion in November 2022, the platform has experienced a series of transformative changes, including significant staff layoffs and relaxed content moderation efforts.
Musk has defended these changes as a commitment to free speech but acknowledged that they led to a 60% decline in ad revenue.
This strategic shift to charge new users coincides with Musk’s exploration of alternative revenue streams beyond advertising, envisioning X as an “everything” app, including integrated payment services.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Elon Musk. Featured Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.