No menu items!


HomeNewsElon Musk Considers Charging Twitter Users to Combat Bot Accounts

Elon Musk Considers Charging Twitter Users to Combat Bot Accounts

Elon Musk, owner of X, formerly Twitter, is considering imposing a monthly fee on users of the social network to combat bots, accounts that incessantly generate content. The suggestion was raised during a conversation on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The tech magnate has implemented multiple changes since he bought Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022.

These strategy changes included layoffs at first, then the reinstatement of banned accounts — like that of former US President Donald Trump — and more recently a change of the brand name, rebranded as X.

In July, Musk said the company had lost nearly half of its advertising revenue. Bots are accounts created by computer programs, which constantly distribute or replicate messages, usually with controversial political or social content.

The idea came up during a public conversation with Netanyahu on X. The Prime Minister asked Musk about combating antisemitism on the network.

Musk replied that his company could move towards “a small monthly fee for using the system.” “It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” the entrepreneur stated.

The Silicon Valley tycoon explained that operating a bot costs a fraction of a cent, so if someone has to pay a few dollars to maintain their profile, the effective cost of using a content robot becomes very high.

“And in addition, this way you would need to have a new payment method each time you use a new bot,” Musk explained. A week ago, Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League after the Jewish organization accused him of allowing the spread of antisemitism on the network.

“To clear up our platform’s reputation regarding antisemitism, it seems we have no choice but to sue the Anti-Defamation League for libel… oh, the irony!” Musk wrote on X.

Surprise and caution

Some observers welcomed the possibility that the network would impose that subscription with surprise. “If he really does it, it’s going to kill the platform. Most people won’t pay (…). It would destroy the platform and ad revenues at once,” reacted Ed Zitron, head of a media relations firm and columnist for Business Insider.

“From the point of view of the economic model, one might think it’s a good option for Twitter,” because unlike other platforms like Meta, Musk’s network “hasn’t managed to establish a successful advertising system so far,” noted Kames Cooper, director of the “Business of Apps” agency.

However, “the value of Twitter lies in the network effect linked to the existence of a large user base. Universal pricing of the service would destroy the user base,” he warned.

“Right now the best solution is to increase the value of its paid services, improving its advertising offer and thinking about new sources of income, such as transactions, rather than making everyone pay,” he added.

Musk claims X currently has “550 million monthly users.” In May 2022 Twitter indicated it had about 230 million active users.

Weekly Recap

Latest Articles