New users in the Philippines and New Zealand are the first to be asked for an annual payment in the platform’s latest change.

X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, has started charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines to use the platform’s basic features and plans to expand the annual fee to all new users worldwide .

The trial will require new users in the Philippines and New Zealand to pay approximately $0.75 and $0.85 each year, respectively, to post and interact on X.

Those who refuse to pay will only be able to read posts, watch videos and follow accounts, the company said.

“This evaluates a potentially effective measure that will help us combat bots and spammers on bots are accounts that are not managed by humans but by computer programs.

The annual subscription is the latest in a series of controversial changes to the platform since billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion last year.

Thousands of employees were laid off, content moderation was eliminated, and the blue check mark – once used to identify verified accounts – was given to anyone willing to pay $8 a year.

In July, the company renamed itself X, ditching the blue bird logo that had symbolized what the platform was all about.

X said the new fee would “strengthen” existing efforts to reduce spam and “manipulation of our platform and bot activity.”

Existing users in the Philippines and New Zealand are not affected.

Earlier this month, Reuters news agency reported that Linda Yaccarino, CEO of

Musk floated the idea of ​​an annual subscription in September, saying it would help combat bots that can be used to artificially amplify political messages or racial hatred.

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