Elon Musk Suggests X Will Introduce Paywall to Combat Bots

Elon Musk, the owner of X (formerly known as Twitter), has revealed plans to implement a paywall that would require users to pay a small monthly fee to access the platform. Musk believes that this paywall would help alleviate the issue of bots, which are automated accounts that have become a nuisance on the platform.

During a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Musk shared his intention to charge users for using X. Currently, Twitter offers a subscription service called X Premium for $11 per month in the US and £11 in the UK, which provides additional perks such as a verified account checkmark. However, Musk intends to extend this payment requirement to all users.

Musk argues that the low cost of setting up bots, which can be as little as a fraction of a penny, contributes to their proliferation. By increasing the cost of an account to a few dollars, he hopes to deter bot operators. Additionally, Musk points out that implementing a paywall would require bot creators to use a new payment method for each new bot created, further discouraging their activities.

The move towards a paywall comes as X grapples with a decline in advertising revenue, its primary source of income. Musk cites a 60% decrease in ad revenue due to advertiser boycotts prompted by concerns over his leadership and the platform’s handling of inappropriate and hateful content.

During the conversation with Netanyahu, the discussion shifted to issues of free speech and antisemitism on X. Netanyahu expressed his hopes that Musk would find a balance between protecting free speech and combating hate speech, particularly antisemitism, on the platform.

Musk has previously voiced his support for free speech while condemning any form of antisemitism. As X prepares to implement a paywall, it remains to be seen how this will impact user engagement and the platform’s ongoing efforts to address content moderation challenges.

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