X set to launch annual fees for all users


Following introduction of annual fees for a blue-tick on X (former Twitter) accounts, Elon Musk has now started imposing annual fees on every user of the platform. According to information, new users signing up for X (formerly Twitter) in two countries will now be charged a US$1 fee as part of a test to “drive bots off the platform”. Gradually this new rule shall be applicable in all other countries.

According to media reports, the “not a bot” annual subscription is part of CEO Elon Musk’s grand master plan to rid the platform of bots and reduce spam.

Only users in New Zealand and the Philippines are affected at this stage. The annual subscription in local currency will be $NZD1.43 and ₱PHP 42.51 respectively. X’s social media market share is 9.4 per cent in New Zealand and 3 per cent in the Philippines.

All new users in these countries will be required to verify their phone number to sign up to X. Those who then pay to subscribe will be able to post and like content; reply, repost, and quote; and bookmark posts. The payment, however, is not mandatory. Those who choose not to subscribe will have limited access to ‘read-only’ functions, such as reading posts and following accounts.

Media reports said, while only a test program in two countries at this stage, the ‘Not a Bot’ terms and conditions state X can add other geographic locations as it sees fit.

X already charges for its top product, X Premium, which in Australia costs $13/month for web only, or $19/month for iOS or Android.

X Premium gives users a ‘blue checkmark’ to indicate it is a paid account.

Blue checkmarks were previously given to verified accounts belonging to high-profile individuals including journalists and celebrities.

Elon Musk bought Twitter in April 2022. He changed the name to X in late July 2023.

Existing users of ‘X’ shall not be affected by the new rule.

On January 9, 2021, through an article in Blitz, I had suggested Facebook and Twitter to introduced paid subscription.

According to mid-2020 statistics, with over 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest network worldwide. Active users are those who have logged into Facebook during the last 30 days. During the last reported quarter, the company states that 3.14 billion people were using at least one of the company’s core products, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger each month.

Founded in 2004, Facebook is currently the biggest social networking service based on global reach and total active users.

Launched by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and some of his contemporaries, the service was initially only available to Harvard students but soon expanded to regional universities, the Ivy League and further colleges before opening up to high school students and global users aged 13 or over.

As of July 2020, India ranks first in terms of Facebook user base size.

There are over 310 million Facebook users in India alone, making it the leading country in terms of Facebook audience size. To put this into context, if India’s Facebook audience were a country then it would be ranked fourth in terms of the largest population worldwide. Apart from India, there are several other markets with more than 100 million Facebook users each: The United States, Indonesia, and Brazil with 190 million, 140 million, and 130 million Facebook users respectively.

As of July 2020, most Facebook users access the social platform almost exclusively via mobile devices. The availability of Facebook on mobile has enabled the company to lay an early claim to mobile-first online markets such as India. Facebook also publishes apps based on original Facebook features such as Facebook Messenger. The wide range of Facebook-related apps ensures that the company is one of the most popular app publishers worldwide based on downloads.


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