If you want to join X, the service formerly known as Twitter, via its website in New Zealand and the Philippines, be prepared to fork over $1 a year for the privilege.
The subscription, part of a so-called “Not A Bot” program, is beginning in those two countries and is designed to “bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity,” X said Tuesday in an unsigned post on its help center. In addition, new web users in New Zealand and the Philippines will have to verify their account with a phone number, the post says. Fortune first reported that Musk was going to charge new users $1 a year shortly before X’s announcement went live.
X’s post doesn’t explain why the new $1 subscription is only for new users joining via the web and not the mobile app, or why Not a Bot is only being rolled out in two countries. A guess would be that X has seen more bot activity from these regions than others, and that it’s much easier to create a bunch of fake accounts via the website. “New users who opt out of subscribing will only be able to take ‘read only’ actions,” such as viewing posts and watching videos, according to the company.
This new program is in addition to X’s main subscription of $8 a month. Musk has been clear from the beginning of his Twitter takeover that he thinks charging will impede bot armies, though it’s estimated that a very, very small percentage of users are paying. Meanwhile, he has been bragging about how time spent on X has never been higher.
Update October 17th, 8:34PM ET: Added post from Elon Musk.