Musk: X Is Implementing 'Not a Bot' Fee

CEO of former Twitter says new users in 2 nations are being charged $1 to tweet, retweet, like posts
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2023 7:30 AM CDT
Musk Confirms: X Now Charging Some Users $1 a Year
Elon Musk, CEO of X (the former Twitter) and Tesla, is seen before talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on May 15 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool, File)

If you've been fearing the day would come when X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, would start to charge regular non-blue-check people for the privilege of posting, that day has come, for some. Fortune reports that the social media site began hitting new users only—and just those in New Zealand and the Philippines for now—with a $1 annual fee, which X and its owner, CEO Elon Musk, say isn't meant to be a cash cow. "This new test was developed to bolster our already successful efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform, and bot activity, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount," the company says in a statement. "It is not a profit driver."

Musk himself weighed in while responding to a post about the news, noting, "It's the only way to fight bots without blocking real users." He conceded that the new "Not a Bot" fee program "won't stop bots completely, but it will be 1000X harder to manipulate the platform." Those newbies who don't pay the annual fee will still be able to read tweets, watch videos, and follow accounts, per the AP; they just won't be able to interact with those tweets or post their own. X already charges $8 a month for its Premium program, in which participants receive the once-coveted blue check and extra features such as the ability to edit posts.

Charging new users this way would also give X access to their credit card numbers—which Fortune notes would "also help Musk's vision of turning X into an 'everything app,'" including the ability to make purchases right from the platform. It's not clear if and when the payment plan would be applied in other countries, why the test drive is taking place in New Zealand and the Philippines, or why it appears to apply only to new users joining via the web (the mobile app seems unaffected, for now). The Verge ventures a guess on some of that, speculating that "X has seen more bot activity from these regions than others, and that it's much easier to create a bunch of fake accounts via the website." (More stories.)

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