Elon Musk is preparing to make more sweeping changes to X, and his latest move could be a sign that the once-free platform formerly known as Twitter will one day be fully pay-to-play.
This week, X announced that users on web browsers in New Zealand and the Philippines will experience the new “Not a Bot” subscription model, which will charge all non-premium subscription users $1 to post on the platform.
Users who agree to the $1 policy can continue to use their accounts as they currently do, with all functionality. Opting out, however, will place the account in a “view-only” mode, which means no posting or re-posting — only reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts will be available.
In 2019, The Washington Post called the social media landscape in the Phillippines “a virtual free-for-all” for paid internet trolls running social media accounts in the country.
“This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform, and bot activity,” X wrote in a blog post. “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.”
It’s noted that this will only be implemented as of now for new accounts. Existing accounts in the two countries will not yet be affected.
Musk removed legacy blue checkmarks this past April, except for those with one million followers or more, much to the dismay of users who worked to have their accounts verified, only for the system to be replaced by a monthly subscription model where anyone can pay to have the blue symbol next to their usernames.
X said that the company is “sharing more” about the new pay-to-post policy “soon” but didn’t specify whether or not the new initiative would be rolling out to other countries.