In a bid to restrict the onrush of bots and fake accounts, new users on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) will now be required to pay a small annual fee to be able to like, post, bookmark and reply.

Users can still follow accounts and browse X for free, the company said.

After an upgrade on Monday, the website said new accounts are required to pay a small annual fee before they are able to post, like, bookmark, and reply.

“This is to reduce spam and to create a better experience for everyone,” it said.

The new users, however, will be able to use all usual features for free after three months, Elon Musk, the owner of American technology company X Corp, which owns X, said.

However, whether the new norms will be rolled out in select locations or worldwide is not clear.

“Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots. Current AI (and troll farms) can pass ‘are you a bot’ with ease,” Musk posted on X.

New unverified users now receive a dialogue box stating “unlock the ability to post and engage by paying a small fee”. Premium subscribers get unlimited access to all write actions and other premium features.

“The onslaught of fake accounts also uses up the available namespace, so many good handles are taken as a result,” Musk further said.

Elon Musk has been toying with the idea of making X, formerly Twitter, as a paid site for quite some time now. Last year, during an interaction with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the billionaire said that the best way to deal with bot armies on the platform is by charging a “small amount of money.”

He said that a bot costs only a fraction of a penny and their running cost can go high if X starts charging a few dollars. Also, if the bot operator wanted to create another bot account, they will have to resort to a new payment method every time.

X started charging for the verified badge last year, in a bid to curb the bot issue.