Musk hints at imposing ‘small fees’ for using X

X owner Elon Musk on Monday floated the idea that the social network formerly known as Twitter would no longer be free.

In a live conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk said the company was “moving to charging a small monthly fee” for using the X platform. He suggested that such a change would be necessary to deal with the problem of automated accounts (bots) on the platform.

“It’s the only way I can think of fighting massive armies of automated calculations,” Musk explained.

Musk did not mention the cost of the new subscription, but described it as “a small amount of money.”

During the conversation, Musk revealed new statistics for the X platform, noting that it now has 550 million monthly users, generating between 100 and 200 million posts per day.

Musk did not elaborate, however, whether that figure included automated accounts, which range from good accounts, such as those that spread news, to bad accounts, such as those that send spam posts.

The figure also did not allow for a direct comparison with Twitter’s user base before Musk’s acquisition of the platform, which was calculated using a specific metric invented by Twitter, called the “average monetizable daily active users.”

This legacy metric refers to Twitter users who can be monetized by showing them ads. During the first quarter of 2022’s earnings release, Twitter had 229 million monetizable daily active users.

Musk has not elaborated on his plan to charge X fees or when such a change might occur. But since Musk acquired the platform in late October, the company has been paying users to subscribe to its paid service X Premium, formerly known as Twitter Blue.

For $8 per month or $84 per year, the subscription service offers a variety of benefits, such as: the ability to edit posts, halve the number of ads shown, priority rankings in search and conversations, the ability to write long posts, and more.

X does not disclose the number of subscribers to its paid service, but independent research suggests that X Premium has attracted only a small number of users of the platform. One analysis put the number of X-Premium subscribers at just over 800,000 users.

The idea of charging everyone for using X is not new for Musk. The Platformer reported last year that Musk was considering the idea of putting Twitter entirely behind a paid subscription system.

The major conversation between Musk and Netanyahu yesterday focused on artificial intelligence technology and its regulation, however, both sides touched on the topic of hate speech on X.


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