- Elon Musk announces plans for Twitter to charge a nominal monthly fee to combat bot activity. The move aims to deter bot usage by making it financially burdensome and hinder mass bot deployment, ultimately enhancing the platform's defense against misinformation.
In a recent live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed plans for Twitter, hinting at an upcoming monthly charge for its users. The specifics regarding the exact amount and initiation date were not disclosed; however, Musk suggested it would be a nominal sum, likely “a few dollars.”
The motivation behind introducing monthly charges, according to Musk, is to tackle the persistent issue of bots on the platform. He highlighted the prevalent problem of bot-generated views and expressed the need for a deterrent. By implementing a small monthly fee, users would be less likely to engage in bot activities, as the cost associated with bots would increase significantly.
“But if somebody has to pay, you know, a few dollars or something, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high. And then you also have to get a new payment method every time you have a new bot. So that actually had the constraint of how many different credit cards you can find even on the dark web or whatever,” Musk said.
Musk acknowledged the complexity of combatting bot activity, emphasizing the significant challenge it poses. He mentioned that a bot’s operational cost is incredibly low, making it a persistent issue. The proposed solution involves making it financially burdensome for bot operators by instituting a monthly charge. Additionally, this approach could limit the proliferation of bots by requiring a unique payment method for each one, thus creating a hurdle for their mass deployment.
“And we’re actually going to come up with a lower tier pricing. We just want it to be a small amount of money. This is a longer discussion, but in my view, this is actually the only defense against vast armies of bots, because as the AI gets very, very good, it’s actually able to pass these sorts of CAPTCHA tests better than humans,” Musk said.
This move comes after Twitter’s recent launch of X Premium (Twitter Blue), a subscription service offering various perks to subscribers, including content creator payments. Now, with the potential introduction of a monthly charge for all users, Twitter aims to further strengthen its defense against bots and sustain its commitment to combating misinformation and ensuring a genuine user experience.
In the discussion, Musk also touched upon the influence of AI, referring to it as a “demon” with both positive and negative aspects. He emphasized the need to navigate the challenges posed by AI while leveraging its capabilities for the greater good.
Musk also provided an update on Twitter’s user statistics, indicating a vast user base of approximately 550 million monthly users generating 100 to 200 million daily posts. However, it remains unclear whether these statistics account for the extensive presence of bots, which this proposed pricing strategy aims to address.