It's a banana, Michael...

He's Running

It sounds as if Elon Musk, madman that he is, is actually going to start charging to use the social network formerly known as Twitter.

As Fortune reports, X-formerly-Twitter will begin charging users in the Philippines and New Zealand the equivalent of one American dollar to access the site's main features such as, you know, posting and retweeting — but don't worry, you'll still be able to "read for free."

In a statement to Fortune given after the magazine broke the news, X confirmed the change and referred to it as a "test."

"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," an X spokesperson said. "It is not a profit driver."

X support also announced the program, dubbed "Not a Bot," in a statement posted to the site and its help center and clarified that the test would not affect existing users — but left open the possibility that a universal fee may be in the works.

"So far," the statement read, "subscription options have proven to be the main solution that works at scale [to reduce spam and bots]."

Pipe Dream

The announcement comes almost exactly a month after Musk floated the idea of charging everyone to use Twitter.

"It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots," Musk told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — yes, we too are deeply puzzled — during a September livestream. "Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny — call it a tenth of a penny — but even if it has to pay... a few dollars or something, the effective cost of bots is very high."

The concept has apparently been on the billionaire's mind for a while now. Last November, an insider told Platformer that Musk and his adviser, podcaster David Sacks, were heard in meetings discussing putting Twitter behind a paywall not dissimilar from the ones used by news sites, which would allow people to browse for an allotted amount of time for free and then pay a subscription fee to continue.

Whether users will want to fork over their credit card information to Musk? We'll have to see it to believe it.

More on Twitter-X: Elon Musk Baffled About Why People Would Want to See Headline Before Clicking Article

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