Elon Musk hints at biggest X change yet with "monthly payment" comment

San Francisco, California - X could introduce a monthly fee for all users, owner Elon Musk said Monday, who as usual cited the need to cut down on bots to justify users dipping in their pockets.

X owner Elon Musk has suggested users may soon be charged a "monthly fee" to use the platform.
X owner Elon Musk has suggested users may soon be charged a "monthly fee" to use the platform.  © STEFANI REYNOLDS / AFP

The tech tycoon has made multiple changes since taking over the site for $44 billion in October last year, when it was known as Twitter.

He has fired thousands of employees, introduced a paid premium option, cut content moderation, and reinstated formerly banned accounts including that of former US President Donald Trump.

He said in July the platform had lost roughly half its advertising revenue.

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Bots are common on X, where they can be used to artificially amplify political messages or racial hatred.

During a talk with Musk on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the question of online antisemitism, and how X could "prevent the use of bots – armies of bots – to replicate and amplify it."

Musk replied that the company was "moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system."

"It's the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots," he said.

"Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny – call it a tenth of a penny – but if somebody even has to pay a few dollars, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high."

Bot problem on X worse than ever, new study shows

According to a new study, bot activity and scams have increased on the platform since Musk's takeover.

His conversation with Netanyahu, which was broadcast on X, came as the Tesla tycoon is mired in a row with the Anti-Defamation League, a US-based Jewish organization.

Musk has accused the ADL of making unfounded accusations of antisemitism that have scared away advertisers and hurt his company's revenue, and has threatened to sue for billions of dollars.

Cover photo: STEFANI REYNOLDS / AFP

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