Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and owner of X, has announced that the microblogging site X, will soon implement monthly charges for its users. He revealed this development during a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Although the exact amount and commencement date of the charges were not disclosed, Musk indicated that it would be a ‘small monthly payment,’ likely ‘a few dollars.’
The rationale behind introducing monthly charges, according to Musk, is to tackle the significant challenge posed by bots on the platform. He emphasized that this is the most effective way he can think of to combat the proliferation of bots, as they can be created at minimal cost. By imposing a small fee, the cost-effectiveness of bots is diminished, and individuals would need to invest to create and maintain them. Additionally, this approach imposes constraints on the use of multiple credit cards, limiting the bot creators’ abilities to bypass the payment system.
This shift means that X, which recently initiated payments to content creators subscribed to X Premium, will now charge all users a monthly fee in addition to the subscription for X Premium (Twitter Blue).
Addressing concerns raised by Netanyahu about the prevalent use of bots on X, Musk acknowledged the severity of the issue. He highlighted that implementing a payment system was critical in addressing this problem effectively. Bots, being highly cost-efficient, can easily manipulate social media platforms. By requiring even a small payment, the cost incurred to deploy bots increases significantly, acting as a deterrent to their proliferation.
Musk also touched upon the power of AI during the discussion, referring to it as a ‘demon with both good and bad sides.’ This discussion emphasized the challenges and potential associated with artificial intelligence, especially in the context of social media platforms.
Additionally, Musk shared insights into X’s statistics. He mentioned that the platform currently boasts 550 million monthly users who generate an impressive 100 to 200 million posts every day. However, there was no clarification on whether this count included the army of bots that Musk aims to counter through the introduction of monthly charges. It’s worth noting that during Twitter’s Q1 2022 public earnings, they reported 229 million monetizable daily active users (mDAUs).
As I conclude, the decision to implement monthly charges on X stresses the pressing issue of bots infiltrating social media platforms. By requiring a payment, the intention is to deter bot activity and maintain a genuine and engaging user base. Elon Musk’s proactive approach to addressing this challenge demonstrates the importance of adapting to changing dynamics in the digital realm. As X transitions into this new phase, it will be interesting to observe how this strategy impacts user engagement and combats the bot problem effectively.