X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, will require new accounts from the Philippines and New Zealand to pay for subscriptions before they can post.
In a post, the official X support account announced that the company was testing a new program that requires a $1 subscription for new accounts to be able to post and interact with other posts in the aforementioned countries. It claimed that the reason was to further reduce the number of bots spamming on the site and that it was not meant to generate profit.
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.
— Support (@Support) October 17, 2023
Existing X users in the Philippines and New Zealand should not be affected, according to the post.
When billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter, as X was known before he renamed it, last year, one of his main concerns was the number of bots on the site. Musk even suggested that the number of bots on the platform meant that it was worth less than might have been the case otherwise.
To address this, X has been increasingly touting subscriptions as a way to reduce the number of bots on the site. Indeed, the post announcing that X would require subscriptions stated that these were “the main solution that works at scale.”
Some users, however, have claimed that the situation with bots has gotten worse. In a long post back in May, the official account of WhatsApp’s WABetaInfo account stated that it had been getting much more spam in replies to its posts that have clearly been made by bots.
X’s move to require subscriptions for new accounts to address bot problem comes at a time when numerous competitors, such as Bluesky.social and Instagram’s Threads have surfaced in response to the perceived dissatisfaction with the social media giant following Musk’s acquisition.
That said, these competing services have yet to truly make inroads on X’s lead due to the lack of certain features, or still being in closed beta. (Read: Threads has the best chance to replace Twitter, but missing features could derail it)
Will X’s decision to require subscriptions for new users to be able to post or interact with accounts finally drive more people to these competing services? That’s something that remains to be seen.
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