X, formerly known as Twitter, is set to institute a $1 annual charge for new users, granting them access to fundamental functions such as tweeting, replying, and quoting. This information was initially reported by an inside source and later confirmed by the company.
The company is commencing the fee for new users in New Zealand and the Philippines starting on Tuesday, marking one of the most significant transformations in the social media platform since Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company nearly a year ago.
In a statement issued shortly after Fortune’s report about the $1 plan, X’s support account confirmed the details and framed the move as a measure to combat the prevalence of bots and spam on the platform, rather than a profit-driven initiative. The company stated, “This new test was developed to bolster our already successful efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform, and bot activity, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount. It is not a profit driver.”
The $1 annual fee exclusively applies to new users and does not affect existing users. It remains unclear whether and when this payment plan will extend to users in other countries. Additionally, this program differs from X Premium, which offers additional features such as “Undo” and “Edit” for posts at a monthly cost of $8.
Despite its modest amount, the introduction of a $1 fee for basic features represents a significant shift for the social media service, which has been free to use since its inception as Twitter in 2006. According to the source cited by Fortune, new users will be required to pay $1 to access elementary functions, including tweeting, responding to tweets, liking and bookmarking tweets, and creating lists.
Shortly after this announcement, Musk tweeted that users can “read for free, but $1/year to write.” He explained, “It’s the only way to fight bots without blocking real users. This won’t stop bots completely, but it will be 1000X harder to manipulate the platform.”
X also released the “Not-a-Bot Terms and Conditions” on Tuesday, outlining its strategy for a paid subscription service that provides users with specific privileges on the platform, such as posting content and engaging with other users.
There are concerns about whether X users will entrust Elon Musk with their financial information. Musk has previously floated the idea of charging $1 for the platform as a means to combat the proliferation of bots. Gathering credit card information could also align with Musk’s vision of transforming X into an all-encompassing app, allowing users to make direct purchases through the platform. However, given the company’s turbulent history under Musk’s leadership, some users expressed reservations about sharing their credit card information in light of the $1 plan.
Since Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion in November 2022, the company has experienced a series of seemingly erratic changes, including significant layoffs reducing the staff by 75% and relaxed content moderation efforts. Musk has defended these moves as part of his commitment to free speech, but numerous prominent brands have suspended advertising on X due to the platform’s leniency regarding offensive content.
In May, Musk appointed Linda Yaccorino, formerly of NBC Universal, as X’s CEO with the intention of attracting major advertisers back to the platform. In an interview at Vox’s Code Conference, Yaccorino stated that 90% of the top 100 advertisers had returned in the previous 12 weeks, and the company was nearing the break-even point in terms of operating cash flow. Nevertheless, some have questioned Yaccarino’s ability to rebuild the advertising business, given Musk’s propensity for making impulsive and potentially counterproductive decisions. When asked at the Code conference about Musk’s previous mention of a subscription model and its potential impact on ad revenue, Yaccarino responded, “Did he say that or did he say he’s thinking about it?”