X Fighting Bots by Charging Some Users $1/Year to Post
X launched a test phase for a new subscription method called “Not A Bot” in New Zealand and the Philippines on Tuesday. The test aims to strengthen the platform’s existing measures against spam, bot activity, and manipulation. Existing users will not be impacted by this test.
The new subscription method involves a two-step process for new accounts:
Step One: Phone Verification
- New users in the test countries are mandated to verify their phone numbers upon account creation.
Step Two: Subscription Plan Selection
- New users will have the option to subscribe for a $1 USD annual fee, allowing them to post content, like posts, reply, repost, and quote other accounts’ posts, as well as bookmark posts.
The pricing varies by country, with New Zealand users charged $1.43 NZD per year and Philippine users charged ₱42.51 PHP per year. Users who opt not to subscribe will have “read-only” access, which includes reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts.
“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,” according to the platform’s official statement.
The test is subject to the “Not a Bot” Terms and Conditions. Further results of the test are expected to be shared in the near future.
X owner Elon Musk clarified on late Tuesday, saying, “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,” said Musk.
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 18, 2023
The news was first reported by Fortune before X announced the details themselves on late Tuesday.
In a nutshell, the new plan means bot farms, presumably most being detected in New Zealand and the Philippines, will now need to pay $1 USD per year to post, and also have a unique phone number to create a bot account. That might not stop all bots, but it seems like more hoops to jump through for those looking to game the system.