In a recent move to combat the rising tide of spam, manipulation, and bot activity on its platform, X, the social media service formerly known as Twitter, has introduced a new subscription program called “Not A Bot.” Under this initiative, new users joining X via its website in New Zealand and the Philippines are required to pay a nominal fee of $1 per year for the privilege of accessing the platform. This strategic move, aimed at bolstering efforts to maintain a clean and authentic user experience, signifies a proactive approach by X to tackle the persistent issue of bots in online spaces.
The subscription program, which began in these two countries, serves as a deterrent against fake accounts and malicious activities orchestrated by bots. To further enhance security and authenticity, new web users in New Zealand and the Philippines are also mandated to verify their accounts using a valid phone number, thereby ensuring that genuine users are the ones interacting on the platform.
Not A Bot Program Details:
|Subscription Fee||$1 per year (equivalent to R19 in South African currency)|
|Applicability||New users joining X via the website in New Zealand and the Philippines|
|Account Verification||Mandatory phone number verification for new web users|
|Features for Non-Subscribers||Limited to “read only” actions, including viewing posts and videos|
The move comes as X’s response to the escalating concerns surrounding misinformation and manipulation, particularly in regions where fraudulent activities have been on the rise. Although X has not explicitly stated why this program is limited to these specific countries, it is speculated that these regions have witnessed a higher prevalence of bot-driven activities, especially on the website interface, prompting the need for immediate action.
Elon Musk, the prominent entrepreneur and CEO of X, took to Twitter to explain the rationale behind the subscription fee, emphasizing that while users can still read content for free, a minimal fee is necessary to write and actively participate on the platform. He asserted that this approach is essential to fight against bots without hindering genuine users’ experience. Musk acknowledged that the subscription fee won’t completely eradicate bots but emphasized that it would make it significantly harder to manipulate the platform.
The introduction of the “Not A Bot” program is in addition to X’s main subscription, which costs $8 per month. Despite the nominal fee, Musk has been optimistic about the positive impact of this measure. He believes that this initiative will make it 1000 times more challenging for malicious bots to infiltrate the platform, thereby ensuring a safer and more authentic social media environment for X’s users.
X’s implementation of the “Not A Bot” program underscores the platform’s commitment to fostering genuine interactions and combating the menace of online bots. While users in New Zealand and the Philippines are the first to experience this initiative, the global community will be watching closely to assess the program’s effectiveness. As online spaces continue to evolve, X’s proactive stance against bots sets a precedent for other social media platforms, encouraging a safer and more trustworthy digital landscape for users worldwide.