In a recent conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk hinted at the possibility of introducing a monthly payment system for users of X, formerly known as Twitter. Musk emphasized that this move was primarily aimed at countering the proliferation of bots on the social media platform.
“We’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the system,” stated Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. This statement has raised questions about whether it was a spontaneous comment or indicative of upcoming changes.
Musk has long advocated for charging users for verification as a solution to combat bots and fake accounts on the platform. Since his takeover of Twitter last year, he has introduced X Premium, an enhanced service for paid subscribers offering additional features such as longer posts and increased visibility.
Currently, X remains accessible to users for free. Musk acknowledged the financial incentive for the company to charge users but stressed that the primary goal was to deter bots. He noted that the cost of creating a bot is minimal but becomes considerably higher if users are required to pay even a modest fee.
X Premium presently costs $8 (£6.50) per month in the United States, with varying prices in other countries. Musk mentioned plans to introduce lower-tier pricing to make it more affordable for users.
Musk emphasized that putting X behind a paywall was a necessary measure to defend against the proliferation of bot accounts. However, such a move could potentially result in a decline in the platform’s user base, which may impact advertising revenue—a significant source of income for the company.
The conversation between Musk and Netanyahu also touched on the issue of antisemitism on X. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused the platform of not doing enough to combat antisemitic content. Musk expressed his opposition to antisemitism and reiterated his commitment to addressing the issue on the platform.
Netanyahu acknowledged the challenges in balancing free speech and content moderation, urging Musk to find a suitable equilibrium and combat collective hatred effectively.