October 4, 2023

Elon Musk.
Theo Wargo/WireImage via Getty Images

  • Elon Musk said X, formerly Twitter, could be rolling out a paywall to all its users.
  • Musk says the move was critical to help deal with bots on the platform.
  • The billionaire did not give specifics but said X would charge “just a small amount of money.

Elon Musk says his social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, could be introducing a paywall for all users.

“The single most important reason that we are moving to having a small monthly payment for the use of the X system, is it is the only way I could think of to combat vast armies of bots,” Musk said during a live stream on X with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

Musk told Netanyahu that having a payment system and prioritizing premium users’ posts would help minimize the influence of bots.

“Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny, call it a tenth of a penny, but even if it has to pay a few dollars or something, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high,” Musk said.

Musk said he believes the paywall is critical if X is to deal with bots on the platform.

“We are actually going to come up with a lower tier pricing. We want it to be just a small amount of money,” Musk said. “It’s a longer discussion but this is actually the only defense against armies of bots.”

This isn’t the first time the billionaire has considered having a paywall for all X users.

Musk had discussed the idea with one of his advisers, venture capitalist David Sacks, last year, according to a report from the tech newsletter Platformer.

Musk has introduced a flurry of changes to the platform since he bought it in October 2022.

Besides renaming Twitter to X, Musk replaced the platform’s legacy verified program — the blue ticks that verify the authenticity of famous personalities — with the Twitter Blue subscription program in March.

The changes are part of Musk’s attempts to put the platform on a path toward profitability. In July, the billionaire said in an X post that the company was in a difficult financial position.

“We’re still negative cash flow, due to ~50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load,” Musk said in his July post. “Need to reach positive cash flow before we have the luxury of anything else.”

Representatives for X did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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