X’s new test won’t affect existing accounts; it will only be applied to new accounts that were created after October 17, 2023. The move is, according to X, the latest in a multi-month mission to reduce the number of bots on the platform — something Elon Musk has been talking about since before his acquisition of the company. “This new program aims to defend against bots and spammers who attempt to manipulate the platform and disrupt the experience of other X users,” the company explains in a help document.
Under this test, new users in the Philippines and New Zealand will have to verify their phone numbers when they create their accounts regardless of whether they plan to pay the fee. After that point, the company says each new user will be faced with a few options: pay the $1 annual fee to get access to basic features, sign up for X Premium at $8 per month to access extra features, or qualify as a verified organization. Any fees paid during the beta aren’t refundable. Because this is merely a beta test, it is possible X will decide to nix it rather than expand it into other markets in the future.