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X unveils new premium subscription plan, including ad-free tier for $16 a month

Is free Twitter/X on the way out? Elon Musk adds new subscription tiers: The more you pay, the fewer ads you'll see.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
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While Twiter/X CEO Linda Yaccarino claims that the beleaguered social network's revenue is growing and -- not including the cost of servicing debt -- that the company is cash flow positive, outside observers see Twitter, aka X, losing money hand over fist. Since Elon Musk brought the social network, Twitter's advertising revenue has slumped by 60%. What to do? Start charging to use the service.

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In an attempt to diversify its revenue streams and offer enhanced features to its user base, Twitter has rolled out a new opt-in paid subscription model called "X Premium." Replacing the Twitter Blue subscription plan, this new feature offers users the option to enjoy an ad-free experience on the network. X is also experimenting with a $1-a-year fee to post and respond to posts on the platform.  

X Premium has three tiers: Basic, Premium, and Premium+. Basic starts at $3/month or $32/year; Premium starts at $8/month or $84/year; and Premium+ starts at $16/month or $168/year.

All X Premium subscribers will get access to the following features:

  • Edit post: This gives you a one-hour window to make a few changes to published posts. Use it to make updates, tag someone, or reorder the media you attached.
  • Undo post: This gives you the option to retract a post after you send it but before it's visible to others.
  • Text formatting: Now, you can bold and italicize text in your posts.
  • Longer posts:  Instead of 280-character posts, you can post up to 25,000 characters. 
  • Longer video uploads: Premium subscribers can upload videos up to 3 hours long and up to 8GB file size (1080p).
  • Prioritized rankings in replies: Posts that you interact with will receive a small boost in their ranking. Additionally, your replies will receive a boost that ranks them closer to the top. 
  • Subscribers will appear in the Verified tab within other users' notifications tab, which highlights replies, mentions, and engagement from Premium subscribers.
  • SMS two-factor authentication (2FA): As a subscriber, you can protect your account via texting 2FA. 
  • Encrypted Direct Messages: Premium subscribers can initiate encrypted direct messages with other Premium accounts.

The three tiers come with some differences, of course:

  • Basic subscribers receive a small boost to their replies.
  • Premium subscribers receive a larger boost to their replies.
  • Premium+ subscribers receive the largest boost to their replies.
  • Ordinary non-subscribers won't receive any boost. 

Some of these features used to be built into Twitter. For example, 2FA, an essential tool to protect your account from hackers, used to be free.

Also: 5 reasons to try Twitter rival Bluesky

At the higher levels, you can get verified with a blue checkmark. These used to mean that Twitter had verified you as a significant user. However, now that anyone can have one, their social cachet has plummeted. Indeed, you can decline to show the checkmark even if you are eligible for one.

What will interest most users, though, is that the more you pay, the fewer ads you'll see. Premium tier subscribers see approximately 50% fewer ads. Premium+ tier subscribers will see no ads at all.  Users who do not opt for the subscription will continue to see ads as they always have. X has not said if it will change the ad frequency or type for non-subscribed users.

Ironically, with these top two subscriptions, you can monetize your posts via ad revenue sharing and creator subscriptions

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These subscriptions are available on both the X mobile app and its web platform. It remains to be seen how this introduction will impact the overall X experience and whether a significant portion of its user base will opt for these new paid services. According to Stastia's statistics, Twitter Blue had 640,000 subscribers. Out of 225 million total users, that's not that many. 

Of course, if this new plan doesn't bring in the cash, Musk has toyed with the idea of changing all Twitter users. Stay tuned, folks.

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