Elon Musk has casually announced plans to start charging a monthly fee to everyone who uses X, his new name for Twitter.
The world’s richest man revealed the planned paywall Monday night during a talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he was asked how he plans to deal with large armies of robots that amplify hate speech. .
“The biggest reason we’re moving to a small monthly payment for using System X is that it’s the only way I can think of to combat large armies of robots,” Musk replied casually.
He explained that adding a subscription to access the social media site would make it difficult for the bots to create accounts because each would need to register a new credit card.
Musk did not specify how much money he would charge each user, but said it would be a “lower tier price” of what X charges its premium subscribers, which is about $8 a month.
“We want it to be just a small amount of money,” he said.
Elon Musk announced plans to start charging a monthly fee to people who use X (formerly known as Twitter).Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA
Musk explained that adding a subscription to access the social media site would make it difficult for bots to create accounts because each would need to register a new credit card. AP
“The biggest reason we’re going to have a small monthly payment for using System X is that it’s the only way I can think of to combat large armies of robots,” Musk said. AFP via Getty Images
“It’s a longer discussion, but in my opinion, this is the only defense against large armies of robots, because as AI gets very, very good, it is actually able to pass these types of CAPTCHA tests better than humans”.
Musk had previously floated the idea of requiring users to pay a monthly fee last year amid major layoffs at the company, according to a report by technology newsletter Platformer.
It reported that Tesla’s CEO had discussed the idea with venture capitalist David Sacks in November, but the idea was scrapped in favor of offering large-scale verification first.
But the company continues to lose money, and Musk announced earlier this month that Twitter’s advertising revenue was down 60%.
He blamed challenges from the Anti-Defamation League for lost revenue after the nonprofit reported an increase in hate speech toward X following the reinstatement of accounts banned there.
Musk tweeted that the ADL was “trying to take down this platform by falsely accusing her and me of being anti-Semitic.”
Facing backlash for that tweet, Musk announced that he would meet with Netanyahu.
“He’s basically saying, ‘If I had to pay too much for Twitter, you’ll pay too much,'” journalist Kara Swisher tweeted upon hearing the news.
Tesla’s CEO had discussed the idea with venture capitalist David Sacks in November, but it was scrapped in favor of offering large-scale verification first, according to reports. Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock
The announcement that X could be placed behind a paywall sparked anger on the platform, with journalist David Leavitt tweeting that the move would be “the death of this app.”
“The only reason social media is popular is because it’s free and your friends are on it,” he said. “Not everyone can afford to pay.”
Historian Alex von Tunzelmann added: “Even if you were willing to pay a fee, I don’t think it would be a good idea to trust this company with your credit card or bank details.”