Engagement Killer: Elon Musk Announces X/Twitter Newcomers Must Pay to Send Tweets

Elon Musk looks puzzled
Anadolu Agency/Getty

Elon Musk, owner of the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), has reportedly declared that new users will have to pay a fee to tweet on the platform.

Quartz reports that the announcement came via Musk’s own X/Twitter account, where he stated, “Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots. Current AI (and troll farms) can pass ‘are you a bot’ with ease.” This policy change was first flagged by an automated account that tracks changes to X’s website before being confirmed by Musk himself.

Elon Musk's X logo for Twitter

Elon Musk’s X logo for Twitter (Anadolu Agency/Getty)

Under the new “Not-a-Bot” terms and conditions, new accounts must pay a “small annual fee” to post, like, bookmark, or reply to other tweets. However, new users will still be able to follow other accounts and browse the platform for free. The exact fee amount has not been disclosed. In the world of social media platforms that are “free” for users that pay with every private detail of their lives, an upfront fee to post on a platform is likely to be an engagement killer discouraging potential new users from signing up. That is a big problem for Musk who has promised massive growth on Twitter.

This decision comes as X/Twitter faces criticism over its inability to effectively combat the flood of spam accounts that link to pornographic content and fake products. Despite Musk’s previous declaration that “we will defeat the spam bots or die trying” before his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in 2022, the platform has struggled to limit these bots.

The new fee is also seen as a potential revenue-generating move for X/Twitter, which has lost significant value since Musk’s takeover. According to mutual fund giant Fidelity, the social media giant has shed at least 71 percent of its value since the acquisition. Additionally, X/Twitter lost $1.5 billion in ad revenue in 2023 due to dozens of advertisers, including major companies like Comcast, Apple, and The Walt Disney Company, pulling their spending after reports of their ads appearing next to controversial posts.

Musk’s response to the advertiser exodus was controversial, telling them to “go fuck yourself” during an interview with the New York Times. The platform’s Brand Safety Rate, which measures how frequently ads appear beside content that met advertiser-approved metrics, was also incorrectly displayed by DoubleVerify for nearly five months, further complicating X/Twitter’s relationship with advertisers.

Read more at Quartz here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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