X may soon become paid platform, says Musk

By Kingsley Odii

A remarkable turn of events seems to be on the pipeline, as Elon Musk, owner of X, hinted on the possibility of transforming the free social networking site into a paid platform.

During a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk disclosed that the company was contemplating implementing a nominal monthly fee for the utilization of the X system. This proposed change, according to Musk, is in response to the pervasive issue of bots infiltrating the platform.

He added: “It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots, 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. Plus, every time a bot creator wanted to make another bot, they would need another new payment method.”

The conversation between Musk and Netanyahu covered various topics, including technological advancements, and it was during this televised exchange that the X owner dropped the bombshell, catching both users and experts off guard.

X, a platform renowned for its free accessibility and widespread reach, could undergo a significant transformation if Musk’s idea is taken seriously. The predicament that prompted this radical notion centres around bots, an increasingly prevalent presence on the platform. Bots, automated accounts designed to mimic human behaviour, have plagued Twitter, disseminating misinformation, spam, and even facilitating malicious activities.

Despite X’s perpetual efforts to tackle the issue through bot-detection algorithms, the problem has proven stubbornly persistent. Musk believes that implementing a monthly subscription fee would act as a deterrent against the creation and proliferation of bots, as their creators would be less inclined to pay to deploy their automated accounts.

X Premium is currently priced at $8 a month in the US, with varying costs depending on the subscriber’s location. However, Musk announced X’s intention to explore more affordable options for users.

“We plan to introduce lower-priced tiers, so we aim for the cost to be minimal,” he explained.

Musk added that while this topic requires further discussion, he believes it is the only effective measure against extensive bot networks. Nevertheless, there is a potential risk of losing a significant portion of X’s user base by implementing a paywall. This, in turn, could result in a decline in advertising revenue.


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