X Plans to Expand Paid Subscription for All New Users to Combat Bot Issues

X Plans to Expand Paid Subscription for All New Users to Combat Bot Issues
Photo by Michael Dziedzic / Unsplash

Social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, is likely to introduce a paid annual subscription for all new users. This strategy, confirmed by owner Elon Musk, aims to effectively tackle the platform's persistent bot problem.

Historically, a similar subscription model was implemented for users in New Zealand and the Philippines. By extending this model globally, Musk hopes to limit the influence of automated accounts and so-called "troll farms" that can easily bypass human verification checks. "New accounts must pay a small annual fee before they can post, rate, bookmark, and respond to posts," states a recent platform update.

Elon Musk elaborated on the necessity of this change, stating, "Unfortunately, a small fee for new users to write is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots. Current AI and troll farms can easily pass as humans." This move also addresses the scarcity of good usernames, which are often snatched up by bots, further complicating the user experience for genuine participants.

However, not everyone believes this subscription fee will solve the problem. Cryptocurrency expert ZachXBT expressed skepticism, suggesting that the owners of bot farms are prepared to spend "thousands of dollars" on fake accounts, and that this barrier might deter new, genuine users from joining the platform.

The paid subscription was first introduced in October 2023 for new users in specific regions, setting the fee at $1 per year. This preliminary rollout was part of a broader experiment to gauge the effectiveness of subscriptions in managing platform integrity.

Additionally, prominent figures from the cryptocurrency community, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, have been urged to return to platform X. Buterin previously left the platform citing concerns over "information noise," which the new subscription model seeks to diminish by filtering out non-genuine users.

In sum, as X evolves under Musk's ownership, the introduction of a paid subscription model for new users represents a significant pivot aimed at enhancing the quality of interaction and reducing the presence of disruptive bots. The full impact of this policy remains to be seen, as it balances the twin challenges of maintaining user growth and ensuring a bot-free environment.