Elon Musk will force all users on X to pay for social network ...but keeps the price a secret

spacex ceo elon musk pictured on the red carpet for the breakthrough prize

Elon Musk is involved in the running of SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company and X, formerly Twitter

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 17/04/2024

- 06:30

The charge is designed to stop scam accounts flooding the service

  • Elon Musk has trialled a $1 fee in New Zealand and Philippines
  • The annual charge is expected to be rolled out worldwide
  • Only new users on X will be charged the fee initially
  • Musk has hinted that all account holders could be charged in future

How much would you pay to use social network X?

Elon Musk has confirmed the service is planning to charge "a small fee" to all users to unlock the ability to interact with posts on the social network. The Tesla and SpaceX chief said charging users to post, like, and reply is the “only way” to stop fraudulent or bot accounts flooding the platform.

screenshots from x showing the different features in the social network

X offers three subscription tiers, known as Basic, Premium, and Premium+. These unlock a number of extras, like a blue verified checkmark and improved news reading ...but using the core features of the social network remains free for now


The charge would initially only apply to new accounts — preventing scammers from establishing new profiles each time they want to circumvent a ban.

Last year, the social network formerly known as Twitter launched a pilot scheme in New Zealand and the Philippines that forced new users to pay a $1 annual subscription to unlock core functionality. With the latest announcement from Elon Musk, it seems the trial was successful and will now be rolled out more widely.

“Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots,” the 52-year-old multi-billionaire posted on the platform he owns. “Current AI (and troll farms) can pass ‘Are you a bot?’ with ease. The onslaught of fake accounts also uses up the available namespace, so many good handles are taken as a result.”

In a further reply to another account on X which questioned this approach, Elon Musk — who regularly tops the list as the world's richest man — said the fee might only be in place for the first three months after a new user joins the platform.

The billionaire said eradicating fake and bot accounts was a key priority for him when taking over the platform in late 2022. However, many users have since reported seeing an increase in spam content, in part due to the substantial cutbacks to staff levels, including cuts to content moderation team.

Musk fired over 80% of staff at the company when he completed his $44 billion acquisition.

Of those, staff overseeing content moderation were fired and Musk also dissolved the Trust and Safety Council, the independent advisory group of some 100 independent civil, human rights, and other organizations that were put together in 2016 to address problems around hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, and other problematic content spreading on the platform.

The revamp to the verification system, which means anyone can now pay to be verified on the platform and have their posts and replies placed more prominently on the site, has also been attributed by some to the rising visibility of spam content.

Elon Musk has previously suggested that all users could eventually have to pay to use X. However, he has never revealed how much he would charge users.

During this tenure, Elon Musk has introduced three paid tiers of social network X, dubbed Basic, Premium, and Premium+. These subscriptions, which are charged monthly, unlock several additional features as well as the blue verification tick ...but posting on X and interacting with existing posts remains free.


Since Elon Musk's takeover, it has been reported that the platform has seen substantial revenue decline as advertisers have abandoned it over concerns about Mr Musk’s belief in “absolute free speech” and his tolerance of more controversial content.

In the hunt to find alternative revenue models, Musk has launched a number of paid subscription tiers and successfully lured some of the biggest YouTube stars, like Mr. Beast, to post full-length videos on the platform under a new revenue-sharing model.

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