X (Twitter) is charging new users $1 a year to keep the bots and spammers at bay

X logo on a phone screen
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • X, formerly known as Twitter, is implementing a $1 annual subscription for new users in New Zealand and the Philippines in an effort to reduce spam, manipulation, and bot activity on the platform.
  • New users in these countries will also need to verify their accounts with a phone number, though the subscription is only for new users joining via the web.
  • Users who opt out of subscribing will only be able to view content, not interact with it.

X (formerly Twitter) is implementing a $1 annual fee for new users in New Zealand and the Philippines, and those who refuse to pay will be restricted to spectator mode—unable to post, reply, repost, quote, bookmark, or even like content on the web.

The new subscription method requires new users to pay up every year to unlock all of the site's core features, but those who are already on the platform can keep using it for free. Otherwise, you'll be stuck with a "read-only" account, only able to view posts, watch videos, and follow accounts.

Last month, during a live-streamed conversation about AI with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Elon Musk hinted at introducing a paid model to tackle bots and spam, so this new subscription fee isn't exactly a shock.

"This new test was developed to bolster our already significant efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of our platform and bot activity," the company said in a support page. "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's support team made it clear that this "Not A Bot" initiative isn't about making money, but rather about weeding out fake accounts. As part of the program, new users will need to verify their phone numbers.

This new subscription method comes in addition to X's existing subscription plans, including the $8 monthly X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue) and the $1000 monthly Verified Organization plan.

Although this new subscription model is only being tested in two countries for now, it's bound to stir up rumors that X might eventually charge everyone. Even if it's just a small fee, the thought of paying for something that used to be free might drive some people away from the platform instead of bringing them in.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • Duffin
    Well, that's the end for me, then. No freaking way am I going to give Musk money to use his crap website.
  • Jerry Hildenbrand
    Duffin said:
    Well, that's the end for me, then. No freaking way am I going to give Musk money to use his crap website.
    It's not the $1. It probably costs more than a dollar to process the payment so Musk loses money on each subscription. He wants all the personal information you need to provide along with the dollar.
  • KeKyKo
    So Elon is charging to remove posts that he allows on purpose. Hhhhhmmmmmm. Im glad I deactivated my account months ago. FEDIVERSE FTW!!!
  • Climb14er
    Excellent move by Elon. Separates the real wheat from the weak chaff.