Elon Musk has suggested that all users of social media platform X could be required to pay to use the service in an effort to stop bots on the site.
Speaking during a livestreamed conversation on artificial intelligence (AI) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, the billionaire said the company is “moving towards a small monthly payment for use of the X system”.
Mr Musk said it is the “only way” to combat “vast armies of bots” by pricing out those who want to create large networks of accounts to spread content on the platform.
This is actually the only defence against vast armies of bots
X currently is free to use but has a paid-for tier known as X Premium, which gives the user a verification tick as well as access to additional features such as longer posts and more prominence and promotion for their content in exchange for a monthly fee.
However, Mr Musk has now suggested the company is looking at placing the entire site behind a paywall.
“We’re actually going to come up with a lower tier pricing… we just want it to be a small amount of money,” he said.
“This is a longer discussion, but, in my view, this is actually the only defence against vast armies of bots.”
Ever since completing his takeover of the platform formerly known as Twitter last year, the Tesla and SpaceX boss has spoken extensively about wanting to boost X’s income through new revenue streams, including subscription models.
When launching Twitter Blue – now known as X Premium – a number of features which had previously been free to all users were placed behind the subscription paywall in an effort to spark more sign-ups for the paid version of the site.
The need for new, different forms of income has become vital for Mr Musk after X advertising revenue plummeted in the wake of his takeover amid concern over his support for absolute free speech and more relaxed content moderation as a result.
A number of advertisers went on to reduce or completely stop their advertising on the site.
Mr Musk has previously said several campaign groups have falsely accused him and X of being antisemitic, costing the site millions in lost revenue because of advertising boycotts as a result.
In his conversation with Mr Netanyahu, the Israeli leader said he knows Mr Musk is “committed” to stopping antisemitism after the billionaire reiterated he is against hate speech.
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