Elon Musk said on Monday that he is considering charging all users on X (formerly Twitter). The CEO of Tesla and Starlink and also owner of the platform met with Benjamin Netanyahu and both gave a press conference where Musk announced this update:
— Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) September 18, 2023
In the chat with the Israeli prime minister, Musk talked about the problems he is having to recover the lost investment with X. This is when he said they "are moving" to add a monthly paywall. According to him, it is the only way he sees to fight bot accounts:
The single most important reason that we are moving to having a small monthly payment for the use of the X system, is it is the only way I could think of to combat vast armies of bots,
As detailed to Netanyahu, this paywall as well as prioritizing premium users’ posts would help reduce the influence of bots on the social network, a problem that has been detected:
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, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high,
Experts say Musk is making a mistake
For that reason, Elon Musk explained, the non-premium price would be very low, although he has not yet revealed the exact figure: "We are actually going to come up with a lower tier pricing. We want it to be just a small amount of money."
It should be noted that users of the paid version of X pay about $11 per month, so the baseline price would presumably be much lower. However, experts consider that the owner of X is making a mistake. Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, told the Daily Mail:
Bots have been an issue on the platform since the beginning but when Musk laid off mass numbers of employees including security staff, the issue rose to rather uncontrollable lengths. Requesting payment from all users could potentially mitigate this problem but he could have a bigger problem in his hands with a mass exodus of users. With many similar alternatives already set up such as Threads and Mastadon, this could be the final push for some users to crossover to the competition.