Elon Musk hints at Twitter charge to fight “vast army of bots”
Elon Musk has hinted users of the social media platform “X” (formerly Twitter) could be charged for access.
During a discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk said introducing a payment system is essential to combat bots.
He said: “We’re transitioning to a nominal monthly fee for system usage.”
The BBC asked for more information from X but no official statement has been provided.
It remains uncertain if Musk’s statement was spontaneous or indicative of upcoming announcements.
He said: “We’re actually going to come up with a lower tier pricing.
“So we just want it to be just a small amount of money.
“This is a longer discussion, but in my view, this is actually the only defence against vast armies of bots.”
Musk has consistently advocated for a paid verification system as a means to eliminate bots and fake profiles on the platform.
Since acquiring Twitter, Musk has encouraged users to opt for a premium service, now termed “X Premium.”
This premium version offers additional features such as extended post lengths and heightened platform visibility.
However, X remains free for general use.
Musk emphasized the primary objective behind charging users is to address the bot issue.
He explained that creating a bot is extremely cheap, but even a minimal fee would significantly increase the cost for bot operators.
The current pricing for X Premium is $8 per month in the US, with variations based on the user’s location.
Musk revealed plans for introducing a more affordable pricing tier, emphasizing this strategy is the sole defense against extensive bot networks.
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However, there are concerns that implementing a paywall might result in a significant drop in X’s user base, potentially impacting its primary revenue source: advertising.
Additionally, Musk’s conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu also delved into the topic of antisemitism on X.
The platform has faced criticism from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for not adequately addressing antisemitic content.
The ADL has accused Musk of associating with and promoting antisemitic views.
In response, Musk stated earlier that the company intends to take legal action against the ADL to defend its reputation.
During his talk with Netanyahu, Musk reaffirmed his stance against antisemitism. Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledged the delicate balance between upholding free speech and moderating content, urging Musk to strike the right equilibrium.