Elon Musk Reveals Plans to Charge Users on X, Citing Bot Menace

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Musk's Paywall Proposal Aims to Combat Bots and Address Decline in Ad Revenue

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In a recent revelation, Elon Musk, the owner of the social media giant X, formerly known as Twitter, has announced his intentions to impose a subscription fee on all users of the platform. This decision comes as a response to the escalating issue of automated bot accounts plaguing the platform, posing significant challenges to its functionality and user experience.

During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the world’s wealthiest individual and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, hinted at X’s impending shift towards charging its user base. Presently, Twitter offers its subscription service, X Premium, which includes features like a verified account checkmark, at a monthly fee of $11 in the United States for iPhones and £11 in the United Kingdom.

Musk stated, “We’re moving towards implementing a nominal monthly fee for platform usage.” He elaborated on the motivation behind this move, emphasizing that bots could be created at minimal costs, causing considerable disruptions. By raising the cost of account ownership to “a few dollars or something“.

Musk believes it will deter the operators of these disruptive automated accounts. Furthermore, he noted, “Every time a bot creator wishes to establish another bot, they would need to set up a new payment method, adding an extra layer of accountability.”

At the heart of this decision is X’s battle with a significant decline in advertising revenue, which has historically been its primary income source. Musk has disclosed that an advertiser boycott, driven by concerns regarding his leadership and the platform’s handling of inappropriate or hateful content, has led to a substantial 60% drop in ad revenue.

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While Musk’s conversation with Netanyahu was initially intended to focus on technology and artificial intelligence, it swiftly pivoted towards discussions on free speech and antisemitism. Accusations that X was not doing enough to combat racist speech on the platform were at the forefront of this conversation. Netanyahu expressed his hope that Musk could find a way, within the confines of the First Amendment, to address antisemitism and other forms of hatred on X. He remarked, “I encourage you and urge you to find the balance; it’s a tough one.”

In response, Musk reaffirmed his commitment to free speech while vehemently opposing any form of antisemitism. This move towards a subscription-based model represents a pivotal moment in X’s evolution, as it grapples with maintaining its integrity, addressing user challenges posed by bots, and navigating the delicate balance between free speech and curbing hate speech on its platform. The impact of these changes on X’s user base and its financial landscape remains to be seen.

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