Twitter's Latest Test Puts Some New Users In Read-Only Mode Unless They Pay

Elon Musk has a new plan to solve the spam and bot problem on X, formerly known as Twitter. That solution is called "Not a Bot" and it involves an unverified user paying $1 per year to prove that they are indeed human. If the user pays, they will have the ability to tweet and share content from other accounts, as well as to "like," reply to, and quote other posts. If the user doesn't pay, however, their account will be relegated to read-only mode, which means they'll only be able to read tweets and watch videos in addition to following accounts.

Right now, the "Not a Bot" program is just a test that is exclusive to new unverified users in New Zealand and the Philippines. Moreover, it is limited to the platform's web client. If the subscription is rolled out to other countries, the pricing will be adjusted accordingly based on currency conversion rates, according to the company. If the existing X Premium — formerly Twitter Blue — subscription system is any indication, the annual $1 "Not a Bot" fee may be higher for mobile users. That's because Apple and Google collect up to 30% of all in-app payments made through their respective platforms.

With humanity comes responsibility and a small fee

X's new test won't affect existing accounts; it will only be applied to new accounts that were created after October 17, 2023. The move is, according to X, the latest in a multi-month mission to reduce the number of bots on the platform — something Elon Musk has been talking about since before his acquisition of the company. "This new program aims to defend against bots and spammers who attempt to manipulate the platform and disrupt the experience of other X users," the company explains in a help document.

Under this test, new users in the Philippines and New Zealand will have to verify their phone numbers when they create their accounts regardless of whether they plan to pay the fee. After that point, the company says each new user will be faced with a few options: pay the $1 annual fee to get access to basic features, sign up for X Premium at $8 per month to access extra features, or qualify as a verified organization. Any fees paid during the beta aren't refundable. Because this is merely a beta test, it is possible X will decide to nix it rather than expand it into other markets in the future.