Elon Musk says X could charge all users ‘small monthly payment’

Published September 19, 2023
X owner Elon Musk speaks during a roundtable with  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. — Screengrab via video on Netanyahu’s X account
X owner Elon Musk speaks during a roundtable with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. — Screengrab via video on Netanyahu’s X account

Online platform X could introduce a monthly fee for all users, its owner Elon Musk said on Monday, citing the need to cut down on bots.

The tech tycoon has made multiple changes since taking over the site for $44 billion in October last year when it was known as Twitter.

He has fired thousands of employees, introduced a paid premium option, cut content moderation, and reinstated formerly banned accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump.

He said in July the platform had lost roughly half its advertising revenue. Bots — accounts run by computer programmes rather than humans — are common on X, where they can be used to artificially amplify political messages or racial hatred.

During a talk with Musk on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the question of online anti-Semitism, and how X could “prevent the use of bots — armies of bots — to replicate and amplify it”.

Musk replied that the company was “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system.”

“It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” he said.

“Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny — call it a tenth of a penny — but if somebody even has to pay a few dollars, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high.

“And then you also have to get a new payment method every time you have a new bot.”

The conversation, which was broadcast on X, came as the Tesla tycoon is mired in a row with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a US-based Jewish organisation.

Musk has accused the ADL of making unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism that have scared away advertisers and hurt his company’s revenue and has threatened to sue for billions of dollars.

Opinion

Editorial

Accruing more debt
Updated 28 Sep, 2023

Accruing more debt

We are in midst of the worst, longest economic crisis because of lavish lifestyles of powerful interests.
Israeli normalisation
28 Sep, 2023

Israeli normalisation

OVER the past few weeks, there have been many reports prophesising the impending normalisation of ties between Saudi...
Kandhkot tragedy
28 Sep, 2023

Kandhkot tragedy

THE tragic incident that unfolded yesterday in Sindh’s Kandhkot tehsil, leading to the deaths of at least nine...
More desecration
Updated 27 Sep, 2023

More desecration

Attacks on the Islamic faith are not motivated by an attachment to free speech but by raw hatred.
Worrying remarks
27 Sep, 2023

Worrying remarks

THESE are ominous words from Gwadar. Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, chairman of the Gwadar Haq Do Tehreek, has warned ...
Justice or vendetta?
Updated 27 Sep, 2023

Justice or vendetta?

ONE wonders whether all pretence of the state as a democracy has been whittled down to a point where it has simply...