By John Ikani
Tesla CEO and X owner, Elon Musk, has revealed plans for the microblogging site to introduce a monthly fee for its users.
Musk made this known during a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.
Although the exact fee and commencement date were not specified, Musk indicated that it would be a nominal “small monthly payment” of “a few dollars.”
The primary motivation behind this move is to address the persistent issue of bots on the platform.
Musk believes that charging users a modest monthly fee is the most effective way to combat the proliferation of automated bots.
With this change, X, which recently began compensating content creators subscribed to X Premium, will now charge all users in addition to the existing X Premium (Twitter Blue) subscription.
In response to Netanyahu’s concerns about the prevalence of bot-generated content on X, Musk explained, “This is indeed a significant challenge for X.
“It’s the only solution I can think of to counter the large numbers of bots, as bots cost only a fraction of a penny. However, when users have to pay even a small amount, the cost-effectiveness of using bots decreases significantly.
“Moreover, they would need a new payment method each time they create a new bot. This poses constraints, even on the dark web, in terms of how many different credit cards one can acquire.
“We are also planning to introduce a more affordable pricing tier. As AI technology improves, it becomes increasingly adept at passing CAPTCHA tests, sometimes outperforming humans.”
The discussion also delved into the power of artificial intelligence, which the Israeli Prime Minister described as having both positive and negative aspects.
During their conversation, Musk also discussed new metrics for X, highlighting that the platform boasts 550 million monthly users who collectively generate 100 to 200 million daily posts.
However, it remains unclear whether Musk’s count includes the army of bots he aims to mitigate through the implementation of monthly payments. Twitter reported 229 million mDAUs in its last public earnings report for Q1 2022.