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Musk's X begins charging some new users for basic features

New users in certain countries who decline to pay the fee will have access limited to a “read only” version of the site.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA site X, formerly known as Twitter, has announced that it has begun charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines to use basic features like posting messages.

X, owned since last year by billionaire Elon Musk, said in a statement that its new subscription method should “bolster” existing efforts to reduce spam and “manipulation of our platform and bot activity.”

Under the trial, new web users in the Philippines and New Zealand will have to pay X around $0.75 and $0.85, respectively, every year, in order to access basic functionality like posting on the site.

Those who decline to pay the nominal fee will only have access to a “read only” version of the platform, limiting them to reading posts, watching videos and following accounts, the company said.

“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,” it added.

Existing users in these countries are not affected.

Musk has made a number of controversial changes to the social media firm’s management and product since he acquired Twitter last year for $44 billion.

He recently floated the idea of charging all users a nominal fee to use the site in a bid to tackle fake accounts — drawing sharp criticism from users around the world.

© AFP 2023

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