Musk's X Is Testing A $1 'Not A Bot' Fee To Post On The Site Formerly Known As Twitter

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The site formerly known as Twitter is headed for a fee-based future. Weeks after owner Elon Musk suggested that X would move to a paid model, the social network has started testing a $1 yearly fee in select markets. The program is being branded in typical Musk fashion as "Not A Bot," but all it really verifies is that someone is willing to pay $1 for an account, bot or not.

If you have an existing account, you are currently safe from the new fee. However, anyone signing up for X from the web in New Zealand and the Philippines will have to pay up front to use Twitter. And it's not just the cash—the new subscription method also requires signups in those countries to verify a phone number to create an account. After signup, these new users (or bots) will be able to view content but won't have the option to tweet, retweet, like, reply, or bookmark content unless they pay the Not A Bot fee. 

"This new program aims to defend against bots and spammers who attempt to manipulate the platform and disrupt the experience of other X users," says an article published in the X help center. The actual cost of the program will vary based on local current prices. At present, it's $1.43 NZD or ₱42.51 PHP per year. A low price, yes, but it's still a price tag attached to something that used to be free. It's not even clear that this effort will keep the bots and trolls out.

Since taking over Twitter, Musk has made numerous contentious changes, including rebranding it to X and removing the verification system. He's also changed the site's algorithms to promote content from paid accounts, but it's unclear if Not A Bot subscribers will get any special treatment. The site will most likely continue upselling these users on a premium subscription, which includes the blue checkmark that used to mean something in the pre-Musk era.

Recent reports have pointed to waning traffic on Twitter, and Musk has openly complained about falling ad revenue. That makes the paid usage model, which X claims "is not a profit driver," all the stranger. Charging a fee just to tweet won't boost usage—quite the opposite, most likely. Musk and company probably know that, which is why this program is currently not required for mobile signups, which is how most people access X.

The Not a Bot FAQ says that X will share the results of this test soon, but the reported outcome will be whatever Elon Musk wants. If he decides to charge everyone $1 to use Twitter, that's what will happen, and it could spell the end of the service as we know it.