witter, also known as X, may not remain free-to-use for good. Owner Elon Musk says he plans to charge a fee just to use the platform.
Musk expressed this plan in a streamed conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel.
He said “some minor amount” may be charged to users in order to deter the proliferation of bots on the platform.
“This is a super-tough problem. It’s the single most important reason we’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system, because it’s the only way I can think of to combat the vast armies of bots,” says Musk.
“A bot costs a fraction of a penny, say a tenth of a penny. But if someone has to pay a few dollars, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high. Then you also have to get a new payment method every time you have a new bot.”
The suggestion is not that every X user will have to subscribe to X Premium, the service once known as Twitter Blue, which costs upwards of £9.60 a month in the UK.
“We’re going to come out with a lower tier of pricing,” says Musk, although he gives no timescale on when these plans may be implemented.
He also claimed the X platform now has 550 million active users a month, up from the 531 million he tweeted about on July 28. The figure was closer to 229 million in mid-2022.
Musk has not, however, announced how many people have signed up for X Premium. Early reports, back when this subscription was called Twitter Blue, suggested initial attrition rates were high. Mashable says a relatively lowly 94,000 people signed up for X Premium between the start of July and August 10.
One of X’s more recent tactics to encourage sign-ups is the platform’s Ads Revenue Sharing scheme, which launched at the end of July. It lets users with an X Premium subscription take a share of the revenues drummed up through reactions to accounts’ tweets.