Twitter/X has announced a new $1 USD annual fee for all new users in New Zealand and the Philippines, effective immediately. While technically not mandatory, anyone who declines to cough up will be locked out of posting, replying, reposting, quoting, bookmarking, or even liking posts on web.
It may not be a significant amount, but the idea of paying for Twitter/X at all is likely to turn more than a few people away from the platform.
Elon Musk might charge everyone for Twitter/X next
“Starting today, we’re testing a new program (Not A Bot) in New Zealand and the Philippines,” the official Twitter/X Support account posted on Tuesday night. “New, unverified accounts will be required to sign up for a $1 annual subscription to be able to post & interact with other posts.”
Under the new Not A Bot program, Twitter/X users in New Zealand and the Philippines who create a new account will now be required to verify their phone number. They will then be prompted to select from three subscription plans: a $8 per month X Premium plan (formerly known as Twitter Blue), a $1000 per month Verified Organization plan, or the new $1 per year Annual Fee.
That’s $1.43 NZD in New Zealand, or ₱42.51 PHP in the Philippines.
Decline, and you will still be able to create a Twitter/X account. You just won’t be able to do anything other than follow accounts and scroll when using Twitter/X in your web browser, locking you into lurker status.
Fortunately, existing users aren’t being charged for the accounts they already have, so anyone still on the hellsite can continue to tweet on their computer without giving Elon Musk’s vanity project their payment details.
Unfortunately, this new program doesn’t bode well for the future of Twitter/X as a free platform. Last month Musk revealed his intention to charge absolutely everybody a mandatory fee to use Twitter/X, then characterised as a “small monthly payment.” Imposing a fee for new users is one step closer to that reality, and a fair indication that Musk’s plan may move ahead despite CEO Linda Yaccarino’s apparent ignorance of it just three weeks ago.
Twitter/X CEO didn’t seem to know about Elon Musk’s mandatory fee plan
Twitter/X claims the Not A Bot test “is not a profit driver,” and is aimed at reducing spam, manipulation of the platform, and bots.
“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,” said Twitter/X.
It’s true that a $1 yearly fee is unlikely to make a dent in Twitter/X’s troubled finances, though it needs all the help it can get at this point. In May, the platform was valued at around one third of the $44 billion Musk reluctantly paid for it, with users and advertisers alike having fled the platform.
However, many Twitter/X users have pointed out that an annual $1 fee is also unlikely to deter bots, many of which already pay the monthly $8 fee for X Premium. The new fee requirement also seems very likely to discourage real people from signing up to the platform.
Though, from a certain point of view, that may actually be doing them a favour.