February 23, 2024

Elon Musk has kicked off his plan to charge users of X, formerly known as Twitter, to post content to the social network.

As of Oct. 17, 2023, X said in a post on its website that it has started testing “Not A Bot,” a new subscription tier for new users in two countries: the Philippines and New Zealand.

The “Not a Bot” subscription plan will cost $1 annually, according to X (adding that prices vary by country and currency). New users on X on the plan will be able to “perform certain actions on the web version of the platform: post content, Like posts, Reply, Repost and Quote other accounts’ posts, Bookmark posts.”

New X users who do not pay the $1/year fee will only be able to take “read-only” actions, such as: read posts, watch videos and follow accounts, according to X.

On Tuesday, in a post on X, Musk said the platform going forward will be free to read, “but $1/year to write. It’s the only way to fight bots without blocking real users. This won’t stop bots completely, but it will be 1000X harder to manipulate the platform.”

Musk last month said X/Twitter is “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system” — a step that is necessary, he said, to thwart the plague of bots flooding the platform. His comments about charging X users came during a discussion on AI that included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Musk said the monthly fee might be “a few dollars or something,” which he said would be sufficient to deter the creation of bot accounts.

“This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity,” X said in the post about the Not a Bot subscription plan. “This will evaluate a potentially powerful measure to help us combat bots and spammers on X, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount. Within this test, existing users are not affected.”

Pricing in New Zealand will be $1.43 NZD per year, and in the Philippines it will be ₱42.51 PHP per year. New accounts created on X, in these two countries, will first be required to verify their phone number.

In October 2022, after Musk begrudgingly closed the debt-laden $44 billion deal for Twitter, he fired Twitter’s senior management team — and installed himself as CEO. Musk then oversaw mass layoffs at Twitter, cutting an estimated 80% of the company’s workforce. He announced that he was renaming Twitter as “X” in July.

News of X’s plans to charge a $1/yearly fee to new users was first reported by Fortune.


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