X uses bots as excuse to charge new users for basic features

If you wish to become a part of X, the platform previously known as Twitter, through its website in New Zealand and the Philippines, you’ll need to pay $1 per year for this privilege.

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This subscription, introduced as part of the “Not A Bot” initiative, is being launched in these two countries with the aim of reinforcing X’s existing efforts to combat spam, platform manipulation, and bot activity. X made this announcement through an unsigned post on its help centre. Additionally, the post states that new web users in New Zealand and the Philippines will be required to verify their accounts using a phone number. Before X’s official announcement, Fortune had already reported Elon Musk’s intention to charge new users $1 per year.

The post from X does not provide details on why the $1 subscription is limited to new users signing up through the web and not the mobile app. It also doesn’t explain why the Not a Bot program is only being introduced in these two specific countries. One can speculate that X has observed higher levels of bot activity in these regions compared to others, and creating fake accounts is perhaps easier through the website. Users who opt not to subscribe will have limited capabilities, only allowing them to take “read-only” actions like viewing posts and watching videos.

It’s important to note that this new program operates alongside X’s main subscription, priced at $8 per month. Elon Musk has consistently advocated for charging users to combat bot armies, even though only a very small percentage of users are believed to be paying for this service. Simultaneously, he has boasted about the increasing amount of time users spend on the platform.