Elon Musk Hints at Potential User Fees for X Platform to Combat Bots


In a recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested that X, formerly known as Twitter, is considering implementing user charges as a means to deter the proliferation of automated accounts, commonly referred to as bots. Musk expressed concern over the persistent issue of bots plaguing the platform.

Currently, Twitter offers a subscription service known as X Premium, which provides users with exclusive features like a verified account checkmark for $11 per month in the US (or £11 in the UK) for iPhones. However, Musk hinted at a broader user fee model for general access to the platform, stating, "We’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the system."

Musk highlighted that the low cost of setting up bots, merely a "fraction of a penny," makes them easily accessible to operators of such software. He proposed that increasing the cost of creating and maintaining accounts, to "a few dollars or something," could serve as a deterrent. Musk pointed out, "Plus, every time a bot creator wanted to make another bot, they would need another new payment method."

While Musk did not provide definitive confirmation of X's intention to implement user charges, the platform is yet to comment on the matter.

Musk also disclosed that X presently boasts 550 million monthly users who collectively generate up to 200 million posts daily. This marks a significant increase from the previous metric of monetizable daily active users, which stood at 238 million before Musk acquired the business in October 2022.

The potential introduction of user fees comes as X grapples with a marked decline in advertising revenue, its primary source of income. Musk attributed a 60% drop in ad revenue to an advertiser boycott driven by concerns surrounding his leadership and the platform's handling of inappropriate or hateful content.

Although the conversation between Musk and Netanyahu was initially slated to focus on technology and artificial intelligence, it swiftly shifted towards discussions on free speech and combating hate speech, including antisemitism, on the platform. Netanyahu urged Musk to strike a balance within the confines of the First Amendment.

“I encourage you and urge you to find the balance,” Netanyahu emphasized. “It’s a tough one.”

Musk has consistently asserted his support for free speech while vehemently opposing antisemitism in all its forms through his X account.