Elon Musk has proposed the idea of making users of X, previously known as Twitter, pay for access to the platform. During a discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the billionaire entrepreneur suggested that implementing a payment system could effectively combat bots.
“We’re considering implementing a modest monthly fee for platform usage,” stated Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.
The request for additional information was made to X, but as of now, no official statement from the company has been received. This leaves uncertainty regarding whether this comment was an informal remark or a signal of upcoming, more definitive intentions.
Elon Musk has long advocated that the solution to eliminating bots and fake accounts on the social media platform is to charge for verification. Since taking control of Twitter last year and renaming it X, he has aimed to encourage users to pay for an upgraded service, now referred to as X Premium. This is achieved by offering paid subscribers additional features, such as longer posts and increased visibility on the platform. Nevertheless, X remains free to use for all users.
While there is an evident financial incentive for the company to introduce user fees, Elon Musk emphasized that the primary goal is to combat bots. He explained, “A bot costs a fraction of a penny to create, but if someone has to pay even a few dollars, the effective cost to bots becomes prohibitive.”
As of now, X Premium is priced at $8 per month in the United States, with varying prices depending on the subscriber’s location. Elon Musk mentioned that the company is exploring more affordable options for users, striving to keep the fee nominal.
Elon Musk argued, “In my view, this is the only defense against vast armies of bots,” when discussing the rationale behind implementing user fees.
However, one potential risk of placing X behind a paywall is the possibility of losing a significant portion of its user base, potentially leading to a decline in advertising revenue, which currently forms the majority of the company’s income.
During his conversation with the Israeli prime minister, Elon Musk also addressed the issue of antisemitism on X. The platform has faced criticism from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for not taking sufficient measures to combat antisemitic content.
In response, the ADL accused Elon Musk of “engaging with and elevating” antisemitic individuals. Earlier in the month, Musk announced the company’s intention to sue the ADL to protect the platform’s reputation.
During the discussion with Mr. Netanyahu, Elon Musk reiterated his stance against antisemitism. Mr. Netanyahu acknowledged the challenge of balancing free speech with content moderation and urged Musk to strike the right balance, saying, “I hope you find, within the confines of the First Amendment, the ability to stop not only antisemitism but any collective hatred of people that antisemitism represents.” He added, “I know you’re committed to that.”