Elon Musk May Put X Behind A Paywall

During a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, X owner Elon Musk mentioned that his social media platform is “moving to a small monthly payment” for all users in order to combat bots. 

“It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” Musk explained. “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 of something, the effective cost of bots is very high.”

This isn’t the first time Musk has mentioned bots in relation to charging users to use X, formerly Twitter. When the company announced that it would begin charging advertisers to run ads on the platform in April, it stated that the approach “supports our ongoing efforts to reduce fraudulent accounts and bots.”



In Musk’s conversation with Netanyahu, bots were also discussed in relation to the rise of hate speech on X since Musk took over the platform. The Israeli Prime Minister, who has been the target of nine months of mass protests against his effort to reduce the power of Israel’s Supreme Court, told Musk that preventing bots could help fight antisemitism on the platform. 

Musk didn’t clarify what the new subscription payment would cost, nor did he expand on when this major change could take hold. 

“We’re actually going to come up with a lower tier pricing,” he said. “So we just want it to be just a small amount of money.” 

“This is a longer discussion, but in my view, this is actually the only defense against vast armies of bots,” Musk added. 

Whether or not eliminating more bots with a forced paywall would actually cut down on antisemitism and other forms of hate speech, it seems to play into Musk’s longtime goal of monetizing via subscription payments without having to rely on advertisers. 

Musk has blamed the Anti-Defamation League for dissuading advertisers on X and for “trying to kill” the platform after the group reported a spike in hate speech after previously banned accounts were reinstated. 

Through it all, Musk has claimed that X no longer relies on U.S. advertising to survive -- a statement that is hard to believe due to the limited uptake of X’s current subscription offerings and the fact that advertising still accounts for the vast majority of the platform’s income. 

By putting the entire platform behind a paywall, X could very well lose a major part of its user base, which might further depreciate advertising revenue, and leave the platform reeling. 

Next story loading loading..