X, the company that used to be known as Twitter, is testing out a new payment structure that will charge new users $1 a year, with the enthusiastic backing of owner and CEO Elon Musk.
Any new users signing up to X in New Zealand and the Philippines through the X website will be required to pay $1 a year ($1.43 NZD or 42.51 Philipine pesos) for access to the beleaguered social network as of now. It’s part of a new ‘Not a Bot’ initiative that X is running, according to an official Help Center post that was issued on Tuesday.
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“This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity,” reads the unattributed post.
The company sees this as a means to combat bots and spammers on the service without impacting accessibility. Existing users of the service in these two countries will not need to pay the $1 annual fee.
Elon Musk has commented on the test, stating his belief that it will make it “1000X harder to manipulate the platform”.
The sign-up process for X in New Zealand and the Philippines now requires a phone number to be registered and verified, before a subscription tier is selected and paid for. Those who opt not to pay for access will only get limited access to the service, with the ability to read posts, watch videos, and follow accounts.
X promises to share more on the results of this test soon. Depending on the results of the test, we could see enforced subscription payments rolling out to more regions and indeed sign-ups through the X mobile app.