Are you ready to pay to use X (formerly Twitter)? The popular social media platform is planning to introduce a monthly fee for all users. Elon Musk said yesterday that all X’s users will soon have to pay “a small monthly payment” as part of the company’s strategy to combat bots. Musk believes that implementing a paywall will help deter automated accounts, which have been a source of concern.
During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the world’s wealthiest individual, hinted at X’s forthcoming decision to charge its user base. Presently, Twitter only charges users for its subscription service, X Premium, which offers benefits like a verified account checkmark. In the United States, this premium service currently costs $11 per month for iPhone users.
“We’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the system,” Musk said.
The news comes just a week after Musk revealed confirmed that the company’s US advertising revenues have plummeted by 60%. Musk blamed the decline on Anti-Defamation League (ADL)’s relentless pressure on advertisers to discontinue their support for X, effectively attempting to shut it down.
Musk also explained that setting up bots is an inexpensive process, costing “a fraction of a penny.” He proposed that increasing the account cost to “a few dollars or something” could discourage bot operators. Musk also added, “Plus, every time a bot creator wanted to make another bot, they would need another new payment method.”
During the meeting, Musk also disclosed that X currently boasts 550 million monthly users, with up to 200 million posts generated daily. Previously, the platform measured its user base differently, using monetizable daily active users, which numbered 238 million before Musk’s acquisition of the company in October 2022.
This move towards a potential paywall comes as X faces a significant decline in advertising revenue, which has historically been its primary source of income. Musk cited a 60% drop in ad revenue, largely attributed to an advertiser boycott driven by concerns surrounding his leadership and the platform’s handling of inappropriate or hateful content.
While Musk and Netanyahu initially intended to discuss technology and artificial intelligence, the conversation shifted towards issues of free speech and antisemitism. Critics have accused X of not taking sufficient action against racist speech on the platform. Netanyahu expressed hope that Musk would find ways, within the constraints of the First Amendment, to address antisemitism and other forms of hatred of X.