The social media platform formerly known as Twitter (X) has announced plans to charge new users for accessing its services. The company has launched a subscription plan named “Not a Bot” which is currently being tested in New Zealand and the Philippines.
According to reports from Fortune, the new subscription requires users to pay an annual fee of $1 to gain the privilege of posting on the platform.
The company clarified that the trial of this novel subscription approach began on October 17th, 2023, exclusively for new users in the two aforementioned countries.
The primary objective of this initiative is to strengthen the platform’s ongoing efforts to curb spam, manipulation, and bot activity. By imposing a small fee, X aims to strike a balance between maintaining platform accessibility and combating malicious activities.
Under this program, new users are required to verify their phone numbers and pay the $1 fee to access key features such as posting tweets, retweeting, saving bookmarks, and liking posts. Those who choose not to pay will have limited access, restricted to a “read-only” mode.
The company has emphasized that the current fees will not be imposed on existing users and that the initiative is not intended to generate profits. However, the move has sparked speculation that X may eventually extend these charges to all users.
This speculation is fueled by comments made by Elon Musk, who hinted at the possibility of introducing mandatory payments to combat bots and spam during a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Musk, who has expressed interest in expanding into banking and offering additional financial services through X, has been noted to harbor ambitions of obtaining access to users’ credit card and billing information.
His aspiration to create an all-encompassing application similar to China’s WeChat was also highlighted by his biographer, Walter Isaacson.
While the new subscription plan is currently in its trial phase, it represents a significant shift in the platform’s approach to user engagement and monetization. The outcome of this trial could potentially reshape the future of social media platforms and their fight against spam and bot activities.