Elon Musk recently floated the idea that users of “X” (previously known as Twitter) might need to start paying for access to the platform.
In a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the billionaire entrepreneur proposed implementing a payment system as a means to combat the issue of bots.
Musk, who heads both Tesla and SpaceX, shared, “We’re moving towards introducing a small monthly fee for using the platform.” However, as of now, X has not issued an official statement regarding this potential change.
It remains unclear whether Musk’s remark was a spontaneous comment or a hint at more concrete plans yet to be disclosed. Musk has previously voiced his belief that charging for verification is the solution to eliminate bots and fake accounts on the social media platform.
Since taking over the platform last year, Musk has been actively encouraging users to subscribe to X Premium, a paid service offering enhanced features such as longer posts and increased visibility on the platform. Nonetheless, at present, X remains accessible for free.
While the financial incentive for the company to start charging users is apparent, Musk emphasized that the primary goal is to address the bot issue. He pointed out that creating a bot costs very little, but even a small fee could significantly deter their activity.
Currently, X Premium is priced at $8 per month in the United States, with varying rates depending on the subscriber’s location. Musk mentioned that they are exploring lower-cost options to make the service more affordable.
According to Musk, putting X behind a paywall is the only effective defense against large armies of bots. However, this approach carries a risk of losing a substantial portion of users, which could, in turn, impact the platform’s advertising revenue, a major source of income for the company.
During the conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Musk also discussed the issue of antisemitism on X. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused the platform of not doing enough to combat antisemitic content. Musk asserted his opposition to antisemitism and mentioned that the company intends to sue the ADL to defend its platform’s reputation.
Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledged the delicate balance between free speech and content moderation but urged Musk to strike the right balance. He expressed hope that within the framework of the First Amendment, Musk could combat not only antisemitism but also any form of collective hatred that it represents.