The online platform X, formerly known as Twitter, may now introduce a monthly fee for all users, its owner, Elon Musk, announced on Monday.
Musk says he is considering a monthly subscription fee for X to crack down on chatbots – which spread hate speech on the popular social media platform.
Chatbots are common on X and are often used to artificially spread political messages or racial hatred.
Musk has already made several changes since he bought the popular platform – then known as Twitter – for $44 billion in October last year.
Among other things, he fired thousands of employees, introduced a paid premium option for the platform, cut content moderation and restored previously banned accounts, including that of the former US president, Donald Trump.
In July, the platform lost about half of its advertising revenue.
During a conversation with Musk, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, raised a question about online anti-Semitism and how X could “prevent chatbots from being used to replicate and amplify it”.
Musk’s answer to this was that the company was “considering introducing a small monthly fee for the use of X”.
“It’s the only way I can think of to prevent chatbots from causing trouble on the platform.”
According to Musk, a chatbot costs only a fraction of that
“Let’s say it costs a tenth of a penny. However, if someone has to pay even a few dollars to run bots on X, a small amount, the actual cost of bots is very high and then you also have to find a new payment method every time you create a new chatbot,” he says.
The conversation, which was broadcast on X, took place while Musk was involved in an exchange of words with the Anti-Defamation League, an American Jewish organization.
Musk has accused the organization of making unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism, which have “driven away numerous advertisers on the platform and harmed his company’s revenue.”
He threatened the organization with a summons of billions of dollars.