New X users may have to pay $1/year to post and interact with other posts

In the latest news of Elon Musk trying to turn X – the erstwhile Twitter – into a more commercial app, the micro-blogging platform is now moving towards yet another paid subscription model. This one claims to combat spam and bot activity while providing a more premium experience for its users. In an official statement, X confirmed that new users on its platform will have to pay $1 per year if they want to access some of the key features on its platform. These features include the ability to tweet, reply, quote, repost, like, bookmark, and create lists.

X says that it has started testing its new subscription method – Not a Bot – in New Zealand and the Philippines, in order to “bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity.” By increasing the cost of account creation and requiring a recurring subscription payment, the platform aims to raise the entry barriers for bot operators, making it economically less viable to engage in spammy activities.

The focus on combatting bot activity and spam is not a recent concern for X. In the past, the platform has already introduced restrictions on viewing tweets to maintain authenticity. The “Not A Bot” subscription is yet another step in the company’s ongoing mission to enhance the user experience by fostering a bot-free environment, but it is also a new method to become an alternative source of revenue beyond advertising (especially since advertising revenue has been on the decline ever since Musk bought the social media platform last year).

New users in these countries will be required to verify their phone numbers and opt for the $1 annual subscription if they wish to enjoy full posting and interaction privileges. Those who choose not to subscribe will be limited to “read-only” actions, such as viewing posts, watching videos, and following accounts. The subscription fee of $1 may vary slightly depending on the currency exchange rate in different countries. For example, in New Zealand, it will cost $1.43 NZD per year, while the same for new users in the Philippines will cost ₱42.51 PHP per year.

In a nutshell, the erstwhile Twitter is bringing no new measures or tools to reduce spam accounts on its platform – instead, it is ensuring that X no longer remains free and puts the most basic of features behind a paywall. This new subscription fee is in addition to the X Premium subscription that many users have already taken – users can get it on the web for $8/month or $84/year, in-app on iOS for $11/month or $114.99/year, or in-app on Android for $11/month or $114.99/year.

It may even backfire – users who were looking forward to Twitter (now X) may feel alienated or excluded by the introduction of a paid subscription. It creates a tiered system where certain users have to pay to access the most basic of features. And as little as it sounds, $1 a year is still a significant expense for some users, and economic disparities are likely to prevent individuals from accessing these premium features. This may lead to backlash from the users (and the frustrated Twitterati may flock in greater numbers to alternatives such as Threads and BlueSky as a result).