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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

How Elon Musk is planning to charge new users $1 to use X

X, which was formerly known as Twitter, is going to start with a test wherein new users would have to pay $1 annually to publish and interact with other messages as to a recent post by the company. Prior to his acquisition of Twitter, Musk had made fighting bot activity his rallying cry, claiming that the platform was being inflated by bots in an attempt to avoid paying $44 billion for Twitter.

In an attempt to counteract spam and bot activity, the social media site announced the change on Tuesday night. First tested in New Zealand and the Philippines, the yearly membership is a component of a programme the corporation is referring to as “Not A Bot.”

Elon Musk had previously stated that the company intended to switch to a September subscription fee model. X stated that the adjustments don’t increase profits.

Will subscription stop Bots on X

The company stated that users who are unable to pay the annual price will only have access to browse posts and follow accounts. Musk has consistently used excessive bot activity as a rallying cry ever since he purchased the company in October 2022.

In an attempt to back out of the legally binding $44 billion acquisition contract, he initially asserted that Twitter, as the platform was previously known, was underreporting the amount of bots on the platform. It was an analysis-based claim that was refuted by multiple specialists.

Under Musk’s management, there have apparently been more bot activities. The social media platform, which is widely regarded as an essential component of the infrastructure for disaster response and a crucial instrument for news gathering, has undergone significant changes as a result of numerous orders issued by Musk.

As part of a larger cost-cutting drive, Musk ordered modifications to the user verification process early in his ownership, eliminating the notability standards in favour of a paid model and reducing the size of the trust and safety teams.

Evidently, X Support agrees with Musk when he says that subscriptions successfully lower bot activity on X; the post states, “So far, subscription options have proven to be the main solution that works at scale.”

Gamers of previously bot-dominated games such as World of Warcraft have lamented that membership costs have not curbed bot activity. Researchers stated that “fake and spam accounts remain plentiful,” according to a June Wall Street Journal article citing the platform’s implementation of the Twitter Blue membership service and the continued prevalence of bots. Because Twitter Blue altered the authentication procedure, analysts told WSJ that it might have even made it more difficult to identify bots.

A considerable number of bot accounts that promote cryptocurrency tokens and raise their prices have previously been found by independent researchers. Although a lot of users have voiced their dissatisfaction with the platform’s decline, rivals like Mastodon, Bluesky, and Meta’s Threads have not yet developed into strong rivals.

Even worse, experts told the newspaper that Musk might have encouraged some spammers to buy subscriptions because, “well-funded scammers might be willing to pay because a perk of signing up is that their tweets get more exposure, which is often the ultimate goal anyway,” “even though the cost of signing up might be an obstacle for some.”

In the Philippines and New Zealand, new users will be required to confirm their phone number before being billed a $1 yearly membership fee, as stated in the blog. Those who choose not to pay will only be able to read content on X, which will restrict their access to services like watching videos, following accounts, and seeing tweets.

The exact date of the paid subscription’s global launch is unknown. The Not-a-Bot terms and conditions state that “X may modify, pause, or discontinue the Programme at any time with no refund to you.”

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