New users signing up for X (formerly Twitter) in two countries will now be charged a $US1 fee as part of a test to drive bots off the platform.

The ‘Not a Bot’ annual subscription is part of CEO Elon Musk’s grand master plan to rid the platform of bots and reduce spam.

Only users in New Zealand and the Philippines are affected at this stage. The annual subscription in local currency will be $NZD1.43 and ₱PHP 42.51 respectively.

X’s social media market share is 9.4 per cent in New Zealand and 3 per cent in the Philippines.

Existing users are not affected by these changes.

Not a bot but will it rot?

All new users in these countries will be required to verify their phone number to sign up to X.

Those who then pay to subscribe will be able to post and like content; reply, repost, and quote; and bookmark posts.

The payment, however, is not mandatory. Those who choose not to subscribe will have limited access to ‘read-only’ functions, such as reading posts and following accounts.

While only a test program in two countries at this stage, the ‘Not a Bot’ terms and conditions state X can add other geographic locations as it sees fit.

X already charges for its top product, X Premium, which in Australia costs $13/month for web only, or $19/month for iOS or Android.

X Premium gives users a ‘blue checkmark’ to indicate it is a paid account.

Blue checkmarks were previously given to verified accounts belonging to high-profile individuals including journalists and celebrities.

Musk bought Twitter in April 2022 for $61.5 billion. He changed the name to X in late July 2023.

Earlier this week, X was fined $600,000 by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner for failing to answer questions about what actions it was taking to prevent child abuse material being distributed on its platform.