X, formerly called Twitter, might soon start charging new and unverified users for them to access some key features on the platform. According to X, the $1 annual fee will help reduce “spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity.” The program called “Not A Bot” is currently in testing on the web version of X in New Zealand and the Philippines.
New and unverified users will have to subscribe to the program to post content and interact with posts such as liking, replying, and bookmarking posts. Users who opt-out will be limited to “read only” actions such as reading posts, watching videos and following accounts.
The program differs from the X Premium paid subscription that offers select features such as editing posts, the ability to hide the likes tab, longer posts with up to 25,000 characters and half as many ads on the timeline. The Not A Bot program will simply allow unverified users to continue using X as they currently are if it is eventually implemented globally.
Despite X’s struggle for revenue, the company has said that this move is not profit-oriented but rather a crackdown on bot activity on the platform. X writes in a blog post, “This new program aims to defend against bots and spammers who attempt to manipulate the platform and disrupt the experience of other X users.”
The site’s owner, Elon Musk, had earlier implied that all users would be required to pay a monthly fee for them to access the platform. It is unclear if and when there will be a global rollout of the subscription.