Tesla CEO and X owner, Elon Musk, said the microblogging site will soon start charging users monthly for using its service.
Musk disclosed this in a live-streamed conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. Musk did not say the exact amount that will be paid and when this will start but he hinted that this will be a ‘small monthly payment’ and ‘a few dollars’.
According to him, introducing the monthly charges is the only way he could think of to address the challenge of bots on the platform.
With this development, X, which recently started paying content creators who have subscribed to X Premium, will now be paid by all users. This is aside from the monthly subscription for the X Premium (Twitter Blue).
Fighting bots with payment
In response to Netanyahu’s concern that most views being expressed on X are mostly from an ‘army of bots’ Musk said:
- “This is actually a super tough problem. And it’s probably really the single most important reason that we’re moving to have a small monthly payment for the use of X. It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots because a bot costs a fraction of a penny.
- “But if somebody has to pay, you know, a few dollars or something, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high. And then you also have to get a new payment method every time you have a new bot. So that actually had the constraint of how many different credit cards you can find even on the dark web or whatever.
- “And we’re actually going to come up with a lower tier pricing. We just want it to be a small amount of money. This is a longer discussion, but in my view, this is actually the only defense against vast armies of bots, because as the AI gets very, very good, it’s actually able to pass these sorts of CAPTCHA tests better than humans.”
The discussions also centred on the power of AI, which the Israeli Prime Minister described as the ‘demon with the good and the bad sides’.
During the conversation, Musk also talked about new metrics for X, noting the site has now 550 million monthly users, who generate 100 to 200 million posts every day.
However, it wasn’t clear if Musk was also counting the army of bots which he is now trying to get rid of through monthly payment. During its last public earnings of Q1 2022 Twitter had 229 million mDAUs.