X testing “small monthly fee” to use platform after all

  • The Not A Bot test charges users $1 a year to post content to X.
  • The platform says that this will be the solution to combat bots.
  • Many users have said that the fee will deter human users, but do nothing to combat huge networks of bots.

Back in September, Elon Musk sat down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to talk shop. In that interview, Musk said “…we’re moving toward having a small monthly payment for use of the X system”.

This morning, however, that tune changed with the launch of the Not A Bot test.

In this test, X will require new users in New Zealand and Philippines a fee to post. That fee is NZD1.43 and PHP42.51 per year and users will also have to verify their phone number. Why these two nations?

They are smaller markets that many companies launch pilot projects in so as to not upset the entire apple cart. We’re curious to see what metric is used to determine the success of this test though as two countries may not move the needle when it comes to bot activity.

“This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity. This will evaluate a potentially powerful measure to help us combat bots and spammers on X, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount. Within this test, existing users are not affected,” X wrote in a Help Center article.

Essentially then this X Premium Lite as seemingly not enough folks were willing to give X $8 a month to prove they’re human. Who could have seen that coming?

New users from New Zealand and the Philippines who opt not to pay a fee will only be able to read posts, watch videos and follow accounts. This program appears to simply be a pilot given that X says it will be, “sharing more about the results soon”.

While the Help Centre article says this fee is only payable for sign-ups on the web, it and the terms and conditions are at odds with each other.

We suppose technically being limited to “read-only” is still using X.

“Here’s how this new test will work for new accounts on web in New Zealand and the Philippines,” reads the Help Centre article, but the terms and conditions state that, “When you sign up for the Program you may sign up and pay via: (i) Apple in-app purchase (if you sign up using an iOS-based device), (ii) Google’s in-app purchase (if you sign up using an Android-based device), or (iii) using Stripe, X’s third-party payment partner (if you sign up using a web browser at”

Further to that, the Terms and Conditions make no mention of this test being limited to those creating an X account on the web.

Much like Twitter/X over the last year, this is a messy situation and we have to wonder how successful it will be. X Premium at least has perks that some folks might find useful, the equivalent of $1 to post though? That seems like a hard ask for most.

Many users have also pointed out that bots and spam accounts are fine with paying $8 a month so a $1 is unlikely to deter those that operate such accounts and networks.

This Not A Bot test has mainly just stirred up confusion among the user base. Whether it will be as successful at deterring bots remains to be seen but we’re doubtful.

[Image – Kenny Eliason on Unsplash]


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