On October 17, the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, implemented a subscription-based model for new users in the Philippines and New Zealand. Under the “Not a Bot” subscription method, new users signing up via the web version of X are now required to pay an annual fee of P42.51 to access basic features, such as posting content and engaging with other users.
This initiative, owned by Elon Musk, aims to reinforce ongoing efforts to combat spam and manipulation on the platform, particularly by automated bots. It is important to note that the subscription fee currently only applies to new users created through a web browser, while those using the X mobile application are exempt from this charge.
Users who pay the annual fee will be able to interact with the web version of X, including posting content, liking, replying, reposting, quoting, and bookmarking posts. Meanwhile, users who choose not to pay will be limited to a “read-only” version, permitting them to view posts, watch videos, and follow accounts.
X stated that this measure attempts to address the issue of bots and spammers while maintaining accessibility to the platform through a nominal fee. New users in the Philippines and New Zealand, registering through the web version will be required to verify their phone number and select a subscription plan, which includes the $1 Annual Fee, X Premium, or Verified Organizations.
This rollout will not impact existing users in these countries. X did not offer a specific rationale for selecting these pilot countries, but concerns regarding disinformation and the use of bots to manipulate online discussions have been subjects of research in the Philippines.