Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, has initiated a new trial in which new users from New Zealand and the Philippines are being charged $1 (£0.82) per year to access essential features. The primary goal of this move, as stated by the platform, is to combat spam, platform manipulation, and bot activity. Those who opt for the subscription fee can tweet, retweet, like posts, and reply to posts, while users who choose not to pay can only read posts, watch videos, and follow accounts.
Elon Musk had previously floated the idea of making all X users pay for access, with a specific focus on addressing the bot issue. Additionally, there is an X Premium service available to paid subscribers in the US, offering enhanced features at a monthly cost of $8.
Furthermore, new users are now required to verify their phone number during the account creation process. Musk has clarified that it will still be possible to create “read-only” accounts for free, but these accounts do not include the essential features, as reported by the BBC.
Since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion last year, the platform has seen a consistent decline in revenue. Despite the financial interest in charging users, Musk emphasizes that the primary objective is to combat the presence of bots. He points out that although bots are inexpensive to create, having users pay even a small amount significantly increases the effective cost of deploying bots.
It’s worth noting that implementing a paywall could potentially result in a loss of users, which could, in turn, impact advertising revenue—a crucial income source for the platform.
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