X could make users pay 'small' monthly fee, Elon Musk says

Putting X behind paywall would be major change from few years ago, when Twitter was regarded as global town square

Elon Musk says a low-cost subscription to use X, formerly known as Twitter, would curb bots on the platform. Reuters
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Elon Musk on Monday suggested that X, formerly Twitter, may soon require users to pay a “small” fee for the social media platform.

X is “moving to having a small, monthly payment for use of the X system", Mr Musk said during a live broadcast of a discussion with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr Musk said the move is seemingly the best way “to combat vast armies of bots”.

He did not say how much a low-tier subscription could cost, or when it would be introduced.

Mr Musk said he believed that charging for use would curb people who create fake or bot accounts that post misinformation, propaganda and scams.

Currently, the website and app are free for everyone to use while some members pay $8 a month for the X Premium service, which gives priority to their posts and a blue tick on their profiles.

“We’re wanting it to be just a small amount of money,” Mr Musk said. “It’s a longer discussion …”

Most social networks are free to use. In return, the platforms harvest troves of user data and use this to display ads.

Mr Musk bought Twitter for about $44 billion in October 2022. He immediately brought in several major changes to the platform and laid off thousands of staff.

Other social platforms have challenges with bots, but Mr Musk fired many of the employees who might have been able to address the issue.

Putting X behind a paywall would be a major change from a few years ago, when Twitter was called the “global town square”.

It is not the first time Mr Musk has floated the idea of putting the social network behind a paywall.

The Platformer technology website reported in November 2022 that he considered paid subscriptions for using Twitter.

Updated: September 19, 2023, 2:49 AM