Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) Unveils $1/Year Subscription to Combat Bots
In a move aimed at curbing the menace of bots on the platform, X, previously known as Twitter, has officially launched a new subscription plan called “Not A Bot.” This initiative, initiated by CEO Elon Musk, will see new users in select countries paying a nominal $1 annual fee for certain posting privileges.
As of October 17, 2023, X announced the introduction of the “Not A Bot” subscription tier on its platform. The new plan, which costs $1 per year, will initially be available to users in the Philippines and New Zealand. X mentioned that prices may vary depending on the country and currency.
Under this subscription, new users can perform various actions on the web version of the platform, including posting content, liking posts, replying, reposting, and quoting other accounts’ posts, in addition to bookmarking posts. Users who opt not to subscribe will be limited to “read-only” actions, such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts.
Elon Musk, in a post on X, outlined the rationale behind this strategy, stating, “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.” This move is part of X’s ongoing efforts to combat spam, platform manipulation, and bot activity.
Musk had previously hinted at implementing a small monthly payment for X usage during a discussion on AI, claiming that such fees would deter the creation of bot accounts. While the “Not A Bot” subscription plan is a $1 yearly charge, Musk suggested that the monthly fee could be “a few dollars or something.”
The new subscription plan complements X Premium, which starts at $8 per month and offers additional perks such as a verified blue checkmark, the ability to edit posts within a one-hour window, a 50% reduction in ads, and prioritized rankings of users’ posts in conversations and search results.
X Premium also allows users to post up to 25,000 characters, a substantial increase from the traditional 280-character limit. Furthermore, subscribers to X Premium are eligible to receive a share of advertising revenue, primarily based on ads displayed in replies to their posts.
In an eventful year for the social media giant, Elon Musk took the reins as CEO of X in July 2022, after closing a massive $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter. Following this acquisition, Musk instigated significant changes, which included replacing Twitter’s senior management team and overseeing a massive workforce reduction, cutting approximately 80% of the company’s employees. This overhaul culminated in the rebranding of Twitter as “X.”
The move to introduce subscription fees for users in an attempt to combat bot activity reflects X’s commitment to preserving a genuine and authentic user experience on the platform while providing valuable features for subscribers. The $1 annual fee is an interesting experiment and may set a precedent for other social media platforms as they grapple with similar challenges.