Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, has started charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines $1 (£0.82) a year to access key features, as part of a new trial.
According to the platform, the aim was to “reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity” with the ability to tweet, retweet, like posts and reply to posts while those who opt out of the subscription fee can only read posts, watch videos, and follow accounts.
Elon Musk had previously suggested the possibility of all X users having to pay for access, emphasising the aim to address the issue of bots.
X Premium, an enhanced service with additional features, is already available for paid subscribers at $8 a month in the US.
New accounts will also be required to verify their phone number, though Musk has said that it will still be free to create “read-only” accounts, which do not have key features, BBC reports.
Since Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion last year, the platform has experienced a continuous decline in revenue.
Despite the financial interest in charging users, Musk emphasises that the aim is to combat bots.
He notes that while bots cost a fraction of a penny to make, having users pay even a small amount significantly raises the effective cost of bots.
The risk of losing users due to a paywall could potentially impact advertising revenue, a significant income source for the platform.
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