Social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), has introduced an annual fee of $1 for new users in the Philippines and New Zealand. The move, which was overseen by Elon Musk, is described as an effort to combat bots on the platform.
According to a post on the X help page, the subscription plan involves a yearly fee of $1 before new users can access essential features such as tweeting, replying, retweeting, and liking.
“As of October 17th, 2023 we’ve started testing ‘Not A Bot’, a new subscription method for new users in two countries,” the company said in a post. “This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity.”
Part of a beta program
“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.” The company went on to add that, “New users who opt out of subscribing will only be able to take ‘read-only’ actions, such as: read posts, watch videos, and follow accounts.”
If a new user is based in New Zealand or the Philippines, the subscription fee translates to NZ$1.43 and 42.51 Philippine pesos respectively. Also, the terms and conditions specify that the new fee is part of a beta program, and users who opt-in must consent to recurring subscription payments.
“This new program aims to defend against bots and spammers who attempt to manipulate the platform and disrupt the experience of other X users. We look forward to sharing more about the results soon,” the post said.
Musk initially talked about the possibility of charging all users in a conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, last month. However, the current plan is limited to new users.