X — or Twitter, if you’re old-fashioned — will now charge users in New Zealand and the Philippines US$1 ($1.43 NZD or ₱42.51 PHP) per year to create a new account.
The Elon Musk-owned company has said that the new changes are designed to fight bots and spam on the platform and has even called the new subscription pricing model “Not A Bot”.
“This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity. This will evaluate a potentially powerful measure to help us combat bots and spammers on X, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount. Within this test, existing users are not affected,” said the company in an announcement.
For new accounts created on the platform, users will have to verify their phone number and then pay the $1 fee in order to post content, Like posts, Reply, Repost and Quote other accounts’ posts, Bookmark posts.
If they do not choose to sign up, they will have a “read only” view of the platform, being able to read posts, watch videos, and follow accounts.
Musk’s platform was also fined $610,500 by the Australian e-safety commissioner after failing to answer questions about how it was tackling child sexual abuse material.
The infringement notice was issued after a seven-month back-and-forth between the company and the e-safety commissioner’s office, after which X failed to respond to some questions, such as the headcount of its safety team among other issues.
If X does not pay the fine or does not comply with the request for information, the e-safety commissioner could seek a civil penalty from the federal court, which could lead to daily fines of up to $782,000, backdated to February 2023, when the first notice was issued.
The e-safety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, speaking at a SXSW event in Sydney on Monday, said the cost would be in the tens of millions of dollars if the maximum penalty was applied. It would then be up to the court to determine how to pursue X for the funds.
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