X, formerly known as Twitter, has announced a $1 annual fee for new users. This decision, effective immediately in New Zealand and the Philippines, marks a significant departure from the platform’s long-standing free-to-use model.
The fee is not a revenue-generating tactic, according to company statements. Instead, it serves as a measure to combat the proliferation of bots and spam on the platform. “This new test was developed to bolster our already successful efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform, and bot activity,” the company said.
The announcement has elicited a range of reactions from the public. While some see it as a necessary step to maintain the platform’s integrity, others question the implications for user privacy and data security.
Elon Musk, who acquired the social media giant nearly a year ago, supports the fee as a way to “fight bots without blocking real users.” He has previously expressed his ambition to transform X into an “everything app,” a platform that goes beyond social networking to facilitate direct purchases and other transactions.
The new fee comes at a time when X is grappling with advertising challenges. Many major brands have withdrawn their advertising campaigns due to concerns about content moderation. The recent appointment of Linda Yaccorino as CEO aims to restore advertiser confidence, although questions remain about the platform’s long-term strategy.
While the fee is currently limited to new users in New Zealand and the Philippines, there is no official word on when it will be expanded to other countries. Existing users are exempt from the charge.