X (Formerly Twitter) announced that are testing a new program (called Not A Bot) for blocking bots and spammers that requires new users to pay a subscription of $1/year in order to post or interact with content.
Those who refuse to subscribe will have read-only access.
The new charge is said to be a way to reduce spam and bot activity.
A tweet announcing the change insists the fee is not meant to be a “profit driver.”
New users in two countries, the Philippines and New Zealand, were chosen to be subjects of the Not A Bot test.
What Is Not A Bot?
Not A Bot is a Beta Program, a test of a subscription plan for new users.
A Help Center page states that new X users in the two test countries are required to verify their phone number.
Successful verification then leads to the next step which is paying one dollar to interact with others on X.
The intent of the Not A Bot program is to weed out bots and reduce spam, a way to protect platform integrity in a manner that scales.
Not A Bot is described as a beta program. Beta status generally means something that is availble for public testing.
In general, if the tests are successful the beta program becomes a main feature but no mention of this possibility was made in the announcement.
According to a new Terms and Conditions page:
“The Not-a-Bot Program is a beta program that X is testing for platform integrity improvements.”
What Do Not A Bot Subscribers Get?
New subscribers will have to pay for features that are normally free:
- Bookmark posts
- Like posts
- Post content
- Reply to posts
- Repost/Quote posts by other accounts
New users who decline to pay the annual fee will be restricted to the following:
- Follow other members
- Read tweets
- Watch videos
Not A Bot Terms And Conditions
Users who sign up for the new program are bound by a new Terms and Conditions that requires new users to agree that they are not be entitled to a refund if the program is cancelled.
The new terms and conditions states:
“All features and functionality of the Program will be determined by X in its sole discretion, and X may modify, pause, or discontinue the Program at any time with no refund to you.”
The official announcement that was tweeted states:
“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.
This new test was developed to bolster our already successful efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount. It is not a profit driver.
And so far, subscription options have proven to be the main solution that works at scale.”
Response To Announcement
Accounts on X challenged the viability of the program by noting that bots and scammers already pay $8 per month for access.
Many users noted the uselessness of charging for accounts when bots already paid for access:
Most of the bot accounts nowadays already paid for a checkmark though. pic.twitter.com/ZnzNgz6dEa
— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) October 18, 2023
surely a bot farm is willing to pay $1 for that level of access and profit
— andrewhayes (@andrewhaye_s) October 18, 2023
Not all thought it was a dumb idea.
One user noted that the verification hurdle and payment may discourage bot farmers who seek to open thousands of accounts.
The point is the payment has to come from a verified source. So how are they going to open 10000 diff accounts?
— yourNotSoLocalPassportbro (@sockfulofnickls) October 18, 2023
Will this truly work? Will be interesting to see if it does.
The bigger question is whether X will roll this out globally if the test is deemed a success.
Featured Image by Shutterstock/thongyhod