Elon Musk, the owner of the online platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has suggested the introduction of a monthly fee for all users as a strategy to tackle the rampant issue of bots on the platform.
Since acquiring the platform for a staggering $44 billion in October of the previous year, Musk has been actively making changes to reshape its dynamics.
This includes a substantial reduction in the workforce, the implementation of a paid premium subscription option, a decrease in content moderation efforts, and the reinstatement of previously banned accounts, including that of former United States President Donald Trump.
Reports in July indicated a significant drop in advertising revenue, with the platform losing approximately half of its ad-generated income. One of the prominent issues plaguing X is the proliferation of bots, automated accounts operated by computer programs rather than humans, which are frequently employed to artificially amplify political propaganda and spread racial hatred.
During a recent discussion with Elon Musk, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised concerns about online anti-Semitism and the role of X in preventing the misuse of bots for the propagation and amplification of such harmful content. In response, Musk revealed his plan to implement a “small monthly payment for use of the X system,” stating, “It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.”
Musk elaborated on his reasoning, explaining that the relatively low cost of deploying bots, often just a fraction of a penny, makes them easily accessible to malicious actors. However, by introducing even a modest monthly fee, users would be discouraged from creating and utilizing bots, as each new bot would require a new payment method, thereby increasing the effective cost.
Currently, X Premium is available for $8 per month in the United States, with pricing variations depending on the user’s location. This proposed monthly fee marks a significant shift in the platform’s business model, reflecting Musk’s commitment to tackling the pressing issue of bot activity on X.