Musk acquired Twitter in 2022 and rebranded it as X, with the vision of creating an “everything app” that would offer a variety of services, such as messaging, payments, e-commerce, and entertainment.
Musk said on Monday while answering a question from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the role of bots spreading and amplifying online anti-Semitism.
Musk said there are plans to move X behind a paywall, requiring every user to pay “a small amount of money” to use the platform, adding that the move is necessary to “combat vast armies of bots” that are spreading misinformation and spam on X.
The paywall, he adds, will increase the cost of maintaining and running bots, discouraging their use. “Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny — call it a tenth of a penny — but if somebody even has to pay a few dollars, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high,” Musk said.
Musk did not specify how much the monthly fee would be, or when it would take effect.
X is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with more than 550 million monthly active users. It is also a major source of news and information for many people, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Placing X behind a paywall is the latest drastic move from Musk. The billionaire made a lot of them since purchasing Twitter. To name a few, he fired thousands of employees, cut down content moderation, rebranded Twitter to X, and even, challenged Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight.