Twitter, now known as X, is rolling out a new $1 per year “Not A Bot” subscription program to reduce spam and bot accounts. The program is initially launching in New Zealand and the Philippines for new users who sign up via the website.
The Fee and Its Purpose
The $1 annual fee is intended to “bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform, and bot activity,” according to an announcement from X. Requiring new users to pay even a small fee creates an increased barrier for bot creators attempting to establish networks of fake accounts quickly.
New web users in the two countries must provide a phone number to verify their account and pay the $1 subscription. Without it, they can only view content in a “read-only” mode. The program does not yet apply to new users signing up via mobile apps, though X’s terms and conditions indicate it may expand there soon.
The focus on new web-based users makes sense, given that quickly automating account creation through websites is easier than mobile apps. Focusing on two small countries first allows X to test out the system before expanding globally.
The new $1 anti-bot subscription is separate from X’s existing $8 per month
The new $1 anti-bot subscription is separate from X’s existing $8 per month subscription offering, known as Twitter Blue. The $8 subscription provides users with enhanced features like edit tweets, 1080p video uploads, and reader mode.
Only a tiny fraction of users are estimated to pay for Twitter Blue. However, even that small revenue stream is likely welcome for X as it seeks to increase monetization while cutting costs under its new owner Elon Musk.
The reasons for launching the program specifically in New Zealand and the Philippines are unclear. However, focusing on regions that have seen more bot activity could help X determine if the fee successfully reduces spam accounts originating from those areas.
The relatively small size of these countries also provides a contained environment for X to evaluate the system and iron out any issues before expanding to larger markets. If successful, the $1 anti-bot fee could eventually reach Twitter users in many other countries.
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