Elon Musk has begun charging X users in New Zealand and the Philippines a fee of one dollar per YEAR. He says it’s the only way to “fight bots without blocking real users.”
The test will apply only to new web accounts, and the fee will be waived if users sign up for X’s $3.99 monthly premium subscription service.
New users in the testing region who opt out of the premium and the annual subscription will only be able to read posts, watch videos and follow accounts — but not interact on the platform. Existing users will not be affected as part of the test.
The company said in the post that the program is meant 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,” adding that the fee is not meant to be a profit driver.
The test comes after Musk encouraged users to sign up for X Premium to reduce spam and scam activity on the platform, suggesting that requiring credit card payments helps verify a user’s identity and creates a higher barrier to entry for inauthentic accounts. As an added incentive, premium users receive a blue checkmark, have their posts boosted by the platform’s algorithm and are eligible to receive payments as part of X’s new ad revenue share program.
X has come under fire in the past week over false and misleading claims widely shared on the platform related to the Israel-Hamas war.