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In the Philippines and New Zealand, Elon Musk is testing a $1 membership signup fee for new X users.

The proprietor of the social media platform appears poised to transform X into a fully subscription-based application. Formerly recognized as Twitter, X is currently experimenting with a signup model. Under this model, new users must either pay to acquire a verified enterprise account, subscribe to an X premium package, or pay a nominal $1 annual fee to authenticate their non-bot status. Commencing on October 17, the trial is presently confined to new users in New Zealand and the Philippines.

Dubbed “Not A Bot,” the experiment, as detailed in a post on X’s help center, aims to combat bot activity by mandating verification of phone numbers and payment methods for all users participating in the trial. According to the help center post, the test, titled “Not A Bot,” was initiated on October 17, 2023, specifically targeting new users in two countries. This innovative test was designed to reinforce existing efforts in minimizing spam, platform manipulation, and bot activity.

The post further outlines that subscribers who pay the $1 fee will enjoy specific actions on the web version of the platform, including posting content, liking posts, replying, reposting, and quoting other accounts’ posts. Conversely, non-subscribers opting out of the subscription will only have access to “read-only” actions, such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts.

The effectiveness evaluation of the “Not A Bot” trial by X remains unclear at this juncture. When Cointelegraph sought commentary from the company, the immediate response was, “busy now, please check back later.” Previous studies on social media “bots” highlight the nebulous nature of the term. It’s not always apparent whether accounts exhibiting bot-like behavior are, indeed, bots.

Moreover, there’s the consideration that bots and their behavior are likely to become more sophisticated, given the ongoing revolution driven by large language models in consumer-facing artificial intelligence chatbot technology. According to X, the subscription model aims to thwart bots by complicating the signup process and financially discouraging the entities deploying them.

Reactions within the crypto and finance communities, where spam bots persist as a continual challenge, vary from outright acceptance of the pay-to-interact model to a rejection of its premise. One user responding to a post from a prominent account sharing the news sees the move as a value proposition at less than $0.10 per month, asserting, “Anyone who complains about this simply wants the bot manipulation to run rampant.” Another opinion suggests that it signifies “the end of X. It had a short run.”

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