Users may need to pay to use X, formerly Twitter, as Elon Musk mulls move to cut down on bots

Elon Musk, the owner of X, formerly Twitter, is considering introducing a paywall to the online platform to cut down on bots.

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Elon Musk is considering introducing a paywall to online platform X, formerly known as Twitter, in his bid to ‘cut down on bots’. This means, all users may soon have to pay a monthly fee, in what has been described as another controversial change by the tech tycoon to the site since taking over ownership in October last year. 

During a talk with Musk on Monday (September 18), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the question of online anti-Semitism and how X could “prevent the use of bots – armies of bots – to replicate and amplify it”, Al Jazeera reported

Bots, or accounts controlled by computer programmes rather than humans, are widespread on X and can be used to artificially increase political messages or racial hatred. 

Musk replied that the company was “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system”.

He said: “It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots. 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.

“And then you also have to get a new payment method every time you have a new bot.”

Since taking over the company, Musk has sacked thousands of staff, implemented a paid premium option called ‘Twitter Blue’ - now called X Premium -, reduced content control and reinstated previously banned users including former US President Donald Trump’s and controversial rapper Kanye West’s. 

X Premium costs £11 a month in the UK and $8 in the US but charges depend on which country the user is in.