Elon Musk Wants to Sell You Free Speech on X

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Elon Musk’s X has initiated a plan to charge new users US$1 annually for access to key features on the platform to combat the growing presence of bots.

  • New X users in the Philippines and New Zealand will be charged $1 annually for accessing key platform features.
  • The new subscription tier, known as “Not A Bot,” grants users the ability to post, like, reply, repost, quote, and bookmark posts.
  • This is X’s move to combat spam, manipulation, and bot activity, rather than generating profits.

As of October 17, 2023, new X users in the Philippines and New Zealand will be charged US$1 annually to access key features on the platform.

According to their announcement, this move is “to bolster our already successful efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity.” And “not a profit driver.”

The new subscription tier, humorously dubbed “Not A Bot,” allows users to post content, like posts, reply, repost, quote other accounts’ posts, and bookmark posts. In contrast, users who opt out of subscribing will be limited to “read-only” actions, such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts.

Ever since he took over the platform, Elon Musk has been vocal about the need to address the issue of bots on X. In fact, during a discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk hinted at the possibility of a monthly fee to deter bot creation, suggesting that a small payment would discourage bot operators.

And now he’s finally doing something about it.

Interestingly, the pricing for the subscription varies by country and currency. New Zealand users will be charged $1.43 NZD annually, while in the Philippines, the fee amounts to ₱42.51 PHP per year. As an added security measure, new users in these countries will need to verify their phone numbers before gaining access to the platform’s enhanced features. Isn’t X’s biggest selling point the anonymity though?

This change has sparked a debate in the reply. You’ve got those who believe that the move is futile.

Others are celebrating the move and backing it up.

Me? I’m just there for the memes.

Okay, okay, let’s be serious for a second.

This is a new and bold move for X on Elon Musk’s part. It’s one thing to have a premium tier with additional bells and whistles and a whole other thing to put the bare minimum behind a paywall. It’s like a girlfriend paying her boyfriend to be nice to her… If I wanted to read without interacting, I’d go buy a newspaper.

I’m curious to see how this will fare in the long run.

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