X (formerly known as Twitter) is testing out their new “Not A Bot” program, which would require users to pay $1 a year to post or engage with posts.
Currently, the plan is being tested in New Zealand and the Philippines, the goal of the program is to disincentivize bot accounts by requiring a small payment. With money invested, spammers and other chronic rulebreakers would have to pay up every time they get suspended in order to make a new account to spam. New users will also be required to submit a phone number.
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.
Some users are critical of X’s plan and have pointed out holes in the original premise, as well as some unintended consequences.
First, some users have pointed out that some spammers already pay for Twitter Blue, the premium service that costs $8 a month. Admittedly, the spammers with Blue accounts tend to be more legitimate looking and offer crypto services.
Secondly, this plan represents a sacrifice of privacy by users. Requiring a payment option would mean submitting financial information which often requires personally identifiable information such as your full name and home address.
While this is already the case for Blue subscribers, and other social media platforms with premium services (think Discord Nitro), rarely does a platform require payment to access even basic social functions.
While the program is only being rolled out in two countries at the moment, X appears willing to roll this out world wide should the program yield results.
Whether Not A Bot succeeds or not, X appears to be committed to tackling the bot problem which has seemingly gotten worse in recent weeks.
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