Elon Musk, the owner of online platform X (formerly known as Twitter), has announced plans to potentially implement a monthly fee for all users. During a livestreamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk revealed that the fee would be a "small monthly payment" aimed at combating the presence of bots on the social media platform. Musk stated that the introduction of a subscription model would make it more difficult for bots to create accounts, as each one would require a unique credit card for registration. While he did not specify the exact amount users would be charged, Musk mentioned that it would be a "lower-tier pricing" compared to the $8 per month currently charged for X's premium subscription service. He emphasized that the fee would be a necessary defense against the increasing prevalence of bot armies, as artificial intelligence continues to improve in passing CAPTCHA tests.
This announcement comes in the wake of Musk's recent conflicts with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which accused X and Musk himself of antisemitism, leading to a decline in advertisers' support for the social network. The ADL highlighted a surge in bullying and antisemitic posts on X following Musk's acquisition of the platform last year. In response, Musk expressed his opposition to attacking any group and condemned hate and conflict-promoting content. Musk's decision to meet with Netanyahu can be seen as an attempt to address concerns related to hate speech and the role of bots on the platform.
Although Musk had previously considered implementing a monthly fee last year, the idea was ultimately dismissed in favor of introducing widespread verification measures. However, with Twitter's ad revenue plummeting by 60%, Musk is now revisiting the idea. He attributed the decline to the challenges posed by the ADL's allegations and subsequent reports of hate speech on X. Musk took to Twitter to criticize the ADL, accusing them of trying to undermine the platform and himself with false accusations of antisemitism.
The potential implementation of a paywall on X has garnered mixed reactions from users and industry experts. Journalist Kara Swisher highlighted the irony of Musk's decision by stating, "If I had to pay too much for Twitter, you do too." On the other hand, journalist David Leavitt expressed concern that introducing a fee would lead to the demise of the platform, arguing that the appeal of social media lies in its free accessibility. Historian Alex von Tunzelmann raised doubts about entrusting X with users' financial information, emphasizing the potential risks associated with sharing credit card or bank details.
Musk's ownership of X has been marked by significant changes, including mass layoffs, the introduction of a paid premium option, the reduction of content moderation efforts, and the reinstatement of previously banned accounts, notably that of former US President Donald Trump. The potential introduction of a monthly fee reflects Musk's ongoing efforts to reshape the platform and address the challenges posed by bots and hate speech.
themes: Donald Trump Elon Musk