March 27, 2024
X, previously Twitter, tests 'Not A Bot

X’s ‘Not A Bot’ Trial: Pay or Prove You’re Human to Join

X, formerly known as Twitter, is currently piloting a sign-up system in which new users must choose between several options to gain access. They can either pay to acquire a verified enterprise account, subscribe to X’s premium service, or opt to pay an annual fee of $1 to confirm their human identity, thereby proving they’re not automated bots. This trial initiative, which commenced on October 17th, is presently applicable exclusively to new users in New Zealand and the Philippines.

The trial, as described in a post on X’s Help Center, is branded as ‘Not A Bot.’ As the name suggests, its primary aim is to discourage bot activities on the platform by mandating all users participating in the test to validate their phone number and provide a payment method.

According to the Help Center post, as of October 17th, 2023, they’ve initiated testing ‘Not A Bot,’ a novel subscription approach for new users in two countries. This new experiment was developed to reinforce the substantial ongoing efforts to combat spam, manipulation of the platform, and bot-related activities.

The post proceeds to explain that new users who pay the $1 subscription charge will be granted specific privileges on the web version of the platform, such as posting content, liking posts, responding, reposting, and quoting other users’ posts.

Conversely, those who decide not to pay the fee and opt out of subscribing will only have access to read-only features, including reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts. It remains uncertain at this juncture how X intends to measure the effectiveness of the ‘Not a Bot’ trial.

Past research on the subject of social media bots has shown that the term can be rather vague. As per a study by Gorwa et al. (2018), it’s not always evident whether accounts exhibiting bot-like behavior are, in fact, automated bots.

Furthermore, it’s important to consider that with the ongoing evolution of large language model-driven advancements in consumer-facing artificial intelligence chatbot technology, bots and their behaviors are likely to become more sophisticated. According to X, the subscription model aims to hinder the ease of automating the sign-up process while also supposedly deterring the organizations and individuals behind these bots by imposing a financial hurdle.

Responses within the cryptocurrency and financial sectors, where spam bots continue to be a persistent issue, have ranged from wholehearted acceptance of the pay-to-interact model to a complete rejection of its underlying premise.

Image by pixabay

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