Elon Musk’s social networking site, X, has launched a new program requiring new, unverified users to sign up for a $1 annual subscription. The subscription will grant users the ability to post and interact with other posts on the platform. This new program is currently undergoing testing in New Zealand and the Philippines as part of the preparation for a global rollout.
The introduction of the subscription model is specifically aimed at new, unverified accounts, and existing unverified users will not be affected by this change. Those who choose not to subscribe upon signup will still have the ability to engage in “read-only” activities, such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts.
During the registration process, new users will have the option to select from different subscription tiers, including the $1 annual fee, the X Premium subscription, and access for Verified Organizations.
Notably, X has clarified that this new subscription program is not motivated by profit but rather by the need to combat spam and enhance the overall quality of the platform. In a statement, X explained, “This new test was developed to bolster our already successful efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount. It is not a profit driver. And so far, subscription options have proven to be the main solution that works at scale.”
Elon Musk, the founder of X, initially hinted at the possibility of introducing a subscription fee for using the platform during a live-streamed conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. While the exact amount was not revealed at that time, Musk had originally proposed a monthly subscription model.
However, the $1 annual fee represents a more budget-friendly alternative compared to the “small monthly payment of a few dollars” previously mentioned by Musk. This decision was partly influenced by the concern raised by Netanyahu, who pointed out that a significant portion of content on X seemed to be generated by automated bot accounts.
Musk acknowledged the challenge of tackling spam and bot activity, stating, “This is actually a super tough problem. And it’s probably really the single most important reason that we’re moving to have a small monthly payment for the use of X. It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots because a bot costs a fraction of a penny.”
He further explained that by imposing a small payment, the cost of deploying bots on the platform would be significantly higher. Musk also highlighted the additional hurdle for malicious actors who would need to obtain new payment methods for each new bot, thus making it a less attractive proposition for spammers.
As X begins testing its subscription model in select regions, it remains to be seen how this initiative will impact the platform’s user base and its ongoing battle against spam and manipulation.