X, formerly Twitter, tests charging new users $1 a year to use basic features

Why Elon Musk wants to paywall X

Why Elon Musk wants to paywall X, formerly known as Twitter 04:19

X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, announced Tuesday it is testing out a subscription model in which it will charge new users $1 a year to use basic features. 

The social media giant said it was launching its “Not a Bot” annual subscription method in New Zealand and the Philippines as a test run. Existing users will not be impacted during the test. 

“This will evaluate a potentially powerful measure to help us combat bots and spammers on X, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount,” X said, adding that the charge won’t be a “profit driver.” 

Users who create new accounts will verify their account with their phone number and then pay $1 USD. They will then be able to use key features like posting, liking, replying to, reposting, bookmarking and quoting posts. New users who opt out of the subscription will be relegated to “read only” functions, such as reading posts, watching videos and following accounts, according to X. 

UK Daily Life 2023 X is testing out an annual subscription model where it charges new users $1. Getty Images

The announcement aligns with previous remarks from X owner Elon Musk, who took over the platform in 2022. Last month, Musk said he was considering charging a “small monthly payment” to use X during a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying at the time the fee would be meant to keep bots off the platform. At the same event, Musk said X has 550 million monthly users that generate 100 million to 200 million posts a day. 

Earlier this year, Musk also imposed temporary daily limits on posts users can view to, he said, “address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation.” 

Currently, X has a premium subscription service, charging users for certain features, including being able to edit a post and having prioritized rankings in conversations and search. Pricing for the service starts at $8 a month. 

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Christopher Brito is a social media manager and trending content writer for CBS News.

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