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Musk says X may go behind paywall, charge users a 'small monthly payment'

The Tesla and SpaceX boss didn't specify what the new subscription payment would cost but described it as a "small amount of money"

Elon Musk

Photo: Bloomberg

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Elon Musk on Monday suggested that Twitter may no longer be free to use, according to a report by TechCrunch. In a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Musk said the social network is "moving to have a small monthly payment for use of the X system" to combat "vast armies of bots."

The Tesla and SpaceX boss didn't specify what the new subscription payment would cost but described it as a "small amount of money."

"It's the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots," Musk said. "Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny — call it a tenth of a penny — but even if it has to pay…a few dollars or something, the effective cost of bots is very high."

This is not the first time Musk has mooted the idea of charging everyone for X. In 2022, Musk was considering putting all of Twitter behind a paywall, according to a report by Platformer. Musk has long advocated for charging users for verification as a solution for getting rid of bots and fake accounts on X.

Since Musk bought Twitter last year, he has been trying to encourage users to pay for an enhanced version of the service, which is now called X Premium. X has given paid subscribers more features, such as longer posts and increased visibility, to make the platform more attractive to them. At the moment, users can still use X for free.

Musk also revealed that X now has 550 million "monthly users," generating 100 million to 200 million daily posts. Musk did not say how many of Twitter's monthly users are authentic versus bots. This figure also didn't allow for a direct comparison with Twitter's user base pre-Musk. In May 2022, before Musk's takeover, Twitter reported an "average monetizable daily active usage" of 229 million.

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The main discussion between Musk and Netanyahu was about AI technology and regulation. They also talked about hate speech on X, where Musk said he is against antisemitism and anything that promotes hate and conflict. Musk recently threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for defamation. The ADL has accused Musk and his social media platform, X, of being antisemitic.

First Published: Sep 19 2023 | 1:24 PM IST

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