In a recent statement, Elon Musk, owner of X (formerly known as Twitter), has hinted at implementing subscription fees for all users of the platform. Musk expressed his intention to erect a paywall around the platform, primarily to deter automated bot accounts, which have been a growing concern for him.
During a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, Musk disclosed that X would soon introduce a subscription fee for its users. Presently, Twitter only charges for its premium subscription service, X Premium, which costs $11 per month in the US for iPhone users and £11 per month in the UK.
Elon Musk mentioned, “We’re moving towards having a small monthly payment for system usage.” He emphasized that the low cost of setting up bot accounts, often just “a fraction of a penny,” necessitates an increase in the cost of account ownership, possibly to “a few dollars or something.” This move aims to discourage bot operators, as they would need new payment methods for each new bot creation.
Elon Musk also revealed that X has a user base of 550 million monthly users who generate up to 200 million posts every day. Previously, the platform measured its user base using monetizable daily active users, which stood at 238 million before Elon Musk acquired the business in October 2022.
The introduction of a paywall is seen as a response to X’s declining advertising revenue, its primary income source. Musk attributes this decline to an advertiser boycott driven by concerns over his leadership and the platform’s handling of inappropriate or hateful content, resulting in a 60% drop in ad revenue.
During Elon Musk conversation with Netanyahu, the discussion shifted to matters of free speech and antisemitism on the platform. Netanyahu expressed hope that Musk would find ways, within the boundaries of the First Amendment, to address issues related to antisemitism and other forms of hatred on X.
Netanyahu remarked, “I encourage you and urge you to find the balance. It’s a tough one.”
Musk has previously used his X account to express his support for free speech while condemning antisemitism in all its forms.
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