Elon Musk says X will introduce an annual fee for new users to like, post, bookmark, and reply


In a nutshell: After a limited rollout last year, it appears that former Twitter platform X will be introducing a small annual fee for new users to like, post, bookmark, and reply. The only things non-paying new users will be able to do is follow accounts and browse the site.

X owner Elon Musk confirmed the introduction of a charge in a reply to an account commenting on the subject.

Musk said the small fee for new user write access was the only way to stop the relentless onslaught of bots. He noted that current AI and troll farms can pass “are you a bot” tests with ease.

Another user asked about the option of doing something extremely computationally expensive like cryptomining instead of paying the fee. Musk said this plan would be “way harder,” adding that the fee was only for new users and they will be able to perform write actions for free after 3 months.

News of the subscription doesn’t come as a surprise. In October last year, X implemented the “Not a bot” program, charging new unverified users in New Zealand and the Philippines $1 per year to post content, like, repost, reply, bookmark, and quote posts. “Read-only” actions, such as being able to read posts, watch videos, and follow others, remain free. It was suspected then that Musk would roll out the charge to other locations.

It’s unclear if Musk plans to roll out the subscription charge to users everywhere, but it seems likely.

Bots have been a major pain for Musk. He said the bot problem was the reason why he tried to pull out of buying Twitter (as it still was then) last year. He argued that around 20% or more of its users could be fakes/bots, much more than the 5% the company claimed.

X announced a campaign earlier this month to identify and eliminate spam accounts. It warned that it was casting a wide net to ensure the platform “remains secure and free of bots,” and a result, users many see changes in their follower counts.

Musk and X emphasize that the fee is solely to combat bots on the service, but the company’s ad revenue has fallen from $4.46 billion in 2021, the year before Musk took over, to just under $3 billion in 2023. The billionaire’s controversial posts and the increasing amount of unsavory content on X has scared away plenty of advertisers.

X is also trying to get more people to sign up to become Premium and Premium+ users. The latest benefit of the $8 per month Premium subscription is access to xAI’s Grok chatbot, which was previously only available on the $16 per month/$168 per year Premium Plus tier.


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