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  • Writer's pictureSarah Brightmann

Elon Musk Announces a Modest Monthly Fee for X Service Usage

Elon Musk, the owner of the social network X (formerly Twitter), has hinted at the possibility of introducing a monthly subscription fee for users. During a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk revealed plans to implement a "small monthly payment" for using the X platform. This proposed change aims to address the issue of bots proliferating on the platform.

Musk emphasized that charging users a nominal fee is a strategy to combat the prevalence of bots, as the cost of creating and deploying these automated accounts is currently extremely low. By imposing a fee, even a small one, the intention is to make bot operations financially less viable. Additionally, each time a bot creator wants to establish another bot, they would need to pay for a new subscription, further discouraging automated spamming.

Although Musk did not specify the exact subscription cost, he described it as a "small amount of money."

In the conversation, Musk also disclosed new statistics about X, including its impressive 550 million monthly users who generate 100 to 200 million daily posts. However, it remains unclear whether these figures include automated accounts, such as legitimate news feeds or malicious spammers.

It's important to note that the metrics provided by Musk may not be directly comparable to Twitter's user base before his tenure as owner. Twitter used a specific metric called "average monetizable daily active user" (mDAU) to calculate its user base. In Q1 2022, Twitter reported 229 million mDAUs.

Musk did not elaborate on when the subscription fee for X would be implemented. However, since taking over the platform in the previous year, X has been actively promoting its paid subscription service, X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue). Priced at $8 per month or $84 per year, this subscription offers various features, including post editing, reduced ad exposure, enhanced search rankings, extended post length, and more.

While X has not disclosed the number of X Premium subscribers, independent research suggests that a relatively small proportion of X users have opted for the paid subscription. Musk has previously contemplated the idea of placing the entire X platform behind a paywall.

During the broader discussion between Musk and Netanyahu, the conversation primarily revolved around AI technology and its regulation. However, the issue of hate speech on X was also raised.

Musk expressed his opposition to antisemitism and any content that promotes hatred or conflict, despite previous controversies regarding allegations of antisemitism against him and X.

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