Elon Musk announces that X (FKA Twitter) is to go behind paywall for all users

Elon Musk

Elon Musk has said that X, formerly known as Twitter, will likely start charging its users.

The X owner, who is also the founder/CEO of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla, said in a new meeting that the social media platform is considering enacting a paywall.

Although unconfirmed, Musk told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting this week that a subscription would probably cost “a few dollars” a month for users [via The Guardian].

Currently, X charges users for its subscription service X Premium that offers advantages such as a verified account checkmark. It costs $11 (£8.87) per month in the US for iPhones and £11 per month in the UK.

Musk explained that a paywall would help the business keep bots at bay and generate money lost by “60 per cent” drop in advertising revenue on the platform.

Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of Twitter, Elon Musk attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre on June 16, 2023 in Paris, France. Credit: Chesnot/Getty
Elon Musk. CREDIT: Chesnot/Getty

“We’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the system,” Musk told Netanyahu, whom he’d met to discuss technology and artificial intelligence.

Musk added that bots cost “a fraction of a penny” to set up and then charging users “a few dollars or something” could deter operators of the software. “Plus, every time a bot creator wanted to make another bot, they would need another new payment method,” he said.

The X owner previously said that an advertiser boycott, sparked by concerns over his leadership of the platform and its management of inappropriate or hateful content, has caused advertising revenue to decline dramatically.

Musk’s conversation with Netanyahu turned to free speech and anti-Semitism amid claims that X was not doing enough to tackle racist speech on the platform.

Netanyahu said that he hoped that Musk would use elements within the US’ first amendment to suppress anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred on X.

“I encourage you and urge you to find the balance,” Netanyahu said. “It’s a tough one.”

Musk has tweeted on X previously to state that he is “pro-free speech” but is “against anti-Semitism of any kind”.

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