Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter/X, is floating an idea that he’s had before, but never mentioned publicly, to remedy the problem of social media bots: charging people to use social media.
Musk brought up the idea of charging all users of X/Twitter in a wide-ranging conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. “[We’re] moving to a small monthly payment for use of the X system,” Musk told Netanyahu, claiming that it is the only way to stamp out bots, as reported by Bloomberg’s Dave Lee.
Elon Musk revisiting an idea apparently floated privately in the past — charging *everyone* to use Twitter. A lower tier than premium. "We’ve moving to a small monthly payment for use of the X system," he just told Benjamin Netanyahu, saying it's only way to stamp out bots.
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeBBG) September 18, 2023
Musk has previously mulled the idea of putting Twitter entirely behind a paywall in internal conversations, according to industry news site Platformer.
Currently, X’s subscription program — formerly Twitter Blue, now called X Blue, under Musk’s rebranding effort — is priced starting at $8 per month.
One of the chief benefits of X Blue is getting verified check-mark status, although this summer the company added the ability for subscribers to hide the check-mark from public view.
X Blue’s other benefits include the ability to edit a post within a one-hour window; a 50% reduction in ads; “prioritized rankings” of a user’s posts in conversations and search; the ability to post up to 25,000 characters (vs. the 280-character limit); and the ability to upload videos up to 3 hours long or up to 8 gigabytes in size. Musk says Blue subscribers also will be eligible to receive a share of advertising revenue, initially based on ads displayed in replies to their posts.
In October 2022, After Musk begrudgingly closed the debt-laden $44 billion deal for Twitter, he fired Twitter’s senior management team — and installed himself as CEO. Musk then oversaw mass layoffs at Twitter, cutting an estimated 80% of the company’s workforce.