X announced that it will start charging new users in the Philippines a yearly fee of ₱42.51 to access its full features. The move is part of a test to combat spammers, manipulation, and bot activity on the social media platform.
According to X’s Help Center, the test, called “Not A Bot”, will only affect new accounts created on X’s web version in two countries: the Philippines and New Zealand. Existing users will not be affected by the change.
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
New users from the two countries who sign up for X will have to verify their phone number and choose a subscription plan. The plan costs $1 per year (₱42.51 in the Philippines and NZD 1.43 in New Zealand) and allows users to post content, like posts, reply, repost and quote other accounts’ posts, and bookmark posts.
Users who opt out of subscribing will only be able to take “read-only” actions, such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts.
X said that the test aims to “defend against bots and spammers who attempt to manipulate the platform and disrupt the experience of other X users”.
Since acquiring X, Elon Musk has been pushing for various measures to weed out bots and spammers on the platform. One such measure was the introduction of a premium subscription service for $3.99 per month, which gives users a blue checkmark, an algorithmic boost, and ad revenue share. He also hinted that X could eventually charge all users a small monthly fee to use the platform, saying that it was “the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots”.
X hopes that the test will improve the quality and security of its platform, but it remains to be seen how it will affect its popularity and reputation in the Philippines.