Elon Musk discussed his plans for Twitter, now called X, on Monday during a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Among other things, Musk said the social network is “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system” in order to combat “vast armies of bots”, CNBC reported.
According to CNBC, Musk did not say how much a new plan would cost users of the social network, or what other features would or would not be included with payment at the lowest tier.
Variety reported Elon Musk may flip the switch to make X – the social network formerly known as twitter – an entirely subscription-based platform.
According to Variety, Musk has previously mulled the idea of putting Twitter entirely behind a paywall in internal conversations, according to industry news site Platformer. Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has said X/Twitter’s ad sales have plunged 50% since he bought the company. “We’re still negative cash flow, due to ~50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load,” Musk posted on July 15.
Currently, X’s subscription program – formerly Twitter Blue, now called X Blue, under Musk’s rebranding effort – is priced starting at $8 per month, Variety reported. One of the chief perks of X Blue is getting verified check-mark status, although this summer the company added the ability for subscribers to hide the check-mark from public view.
TechCrunch reported that X owner Elon Musk floated the idea that the social network formerly known as Twitter may no longer be a free site. Musk said the company was “moving to a small monthly payment” for the use of the X system. He suggested that such a change would be necessary to deal with the problem of bots on the platform.
“It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” explained Musk. “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, the effective cost of bots is very high,” he said. Plus, every time a bot creator wanted to make another bot they would need another new payment method.
According to TechCrunch, Musk didn’t say what the new subscription payment would cost, but described it as a “small amount of money.”
Musk did not expand on his plan to charge for X or when such a change would come about. But since Musk took over the platform last year, the company has been pushing users to subscribe to its paid subscription product, X Premium (previously Twitter Blue). This $8 per month or $84 dollars per year subscription service offers a variety of features like the ability to edit posts, half the ad load, prioritized rankings in search and conversations, the ability to write longer posts, and more.
Personally, I think it is time for me to leave X/Twitter. Plenty of people have already left the platform, after letting their friends know what other social media sites they moved to. There is absolutely no way I am going to trust Elon Musk with my credit card numbers.