In a recent announcement, X, the service formerly known as Twitter, unveiled its new subscription plan, asking users in New Zealand and the Philippines to pay $1 a year for access. The program, called “Not A Bot,” aims to combat spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform. However, several questions arise regarding the rationale behind this new subscription plan, its limited availability, and the effectiveness of such a strategy.

While X has chosen New Zealand and the Philippines as the initial launch countries for the $1 subscription plan, the company has not provided a clear explanation for this decision. One possible conjecture is that these regions have experienced higher levels of bot activity, making it easier for malicious actors to create fake accounts via the website. This move suggests that X is attempting to tackle a specific problem by targeting the source.

In addition to the new subscription fee, X also mandates that new web users in New Zealand and the Philippines verify their accounts with a phone number. This additional step may help in reducing the creation of spam accounts and enhancing the overall authenticity of user profiles. However, it remains unclear why the $1 subscription is exclusive to web users and not applicable to those accessing X through the mobile app.

Users who choose not to subscribe to the Not A Bot program will only have access to limited functionalities, such as viewing posts and watching videos, without the ability to actively engage or contribute to the platform. It is worth noting that the terms and conditions provided by X imply that users can also opt for the subscription through the iOS and Android apps, despite the initial announcement focusing solely on the web platform.

Elon Musk, the prominent figure behind X’s recent developments, has been vocal about his belief in charging users to deter the proliferation of bot armies. However, it is important to acknowledge that only a minuscule percentage of users are currently subscribing to the $8 monthly plan. This raises questions about the efficacy of the subscription model in combating bot activity and whether there are alternative measures that can be explored.

Despite the low adoption rate of the main subscription plan, Musk proudly boasts about the increasing amount of time users spend on X. This contradictory situation prompts reflection upon the true impact of the subscription-based approach and whether it serves as a meaningful deterrent to malicious behaviors.

X’s decision to introduce a $1 subscription plan, specifically targeting bot activity and manipulation, showcases the company’s commitment to combating these issues. However, its limited availability in only two countries, along with the lack of clarity around its implementation, raises concerns about the overall effectiveness of this approach.

It remains to be seen whether other regions experiencing significant bot activity will also be considered for the Not A Bot program and whether X will expand the subscription plan globally. Additionally, exploring alternative strategies, such as advanced AI algorithms or more robust moderation systems, should be considered to supplement the subscription-based model, ensuring a comprehensive approach to combating spam and manipulation.

X’s $1 subscription plan, Not A Bot, brings forth a new chapter in the battle against spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform. While the concept itself is intriguing, several areas require further clarification and consideration. Understanding the rationale behind the choice of launch countries, the limitations of the subscription plan, and its overall impact on addressing the core issues are crucial to evaluating the effectiveness of X’s strategy. As the platform evolves, it is imperative for X to listen to user feedback, explore alternative approaches, and continually adapt its tactics to create a safer and more authentic online environment.


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