Elon Musk’s X is trialing an annual fee for unverified accounts.

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Elon Musk hinted last month that X (formerly known as Twitter) could start charging users, and now the company has announced a test of this concept. They’re launching a program called “Not a Bot,” and it’s being tested with new users in New Zealand and the Philippines. These users will be required to sign up for a $1 annual subscription to post and interact with other posts on the platform. This fee will not apply to existing users or those who sign up for X’s $3.99 per month premium subscription service.

The purpose of this program is to reduce spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform while ensuring platform accessibility. X emphasized that the fee is not intended to generate profits.

Elon Musk has previously encouraged users to sign up for X Premium as a means to combat spam and scams, as credit card payments can help verify users’ identities and create a higher barrier to entry for inauthentic accounts. Premium users receive benefits such as a blue checkmark, increased visibility for their posts, and eligibility to participate in X’s ad revenue share program.

This initiative also follows Musk’s suggestion of potentially charging all users during a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He cited the need for a small monthly payment to combat the presence of numerous bots on the platform.

It’s worth noting that X has faced recent criticism for the spread of false and misleading claims related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. The European Commission has initiated an investigation into the platform over disinformation and illegal content associated with the conflict. X has taken measures to address this issue, including removing Hamas-affiliated accounts, taking down problematic posts, and using its Community Notes program for fact-checking during the crisis.

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