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Elon Musk says X will consider charging 'small monthly' fee to 'combat vast armies of bots'

Marlena Sloss/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Elon Musk suggested on Monday that X, formerly known as Twitter, will consider charging a "small monthly" subscription fee to "combat vast armies of bots."

During a livestream conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk was asked how he plans to remove bots from the social media platform. Musk replied that implementing a subscription fee might be the only practical solution, particularly as artificial intelligence bots become more advanced.

"This is actually a super tough problem," Musk stated. "The single most important reason that we're moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system is, it's the only way I could think of to combat vast armies of bots."

"If somebody even has to pay a few dollars or something, 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," he continued.

Musk explained that it would require those using bots to use a new credit card every time they create another account. He also noted that X would prioritize posts written by the platform's premium users.

Currently, X Premium charges users $8 per month or $84 per year. Premium users get a blue checkmark on their accounts as well as early access to features. During the panel, Musk announced that X plans to roll out a lower-tier premium pricing option, but he did not specify how much the subscription would cost.

"We want it to be just a small amount of money," he stated. "And it's a longer discussion, but in my view, this is actually the only defense against vast armies of bots. Because as the AI gets very good, it's actually able to pass these sort of CAPTCHA tests better than humans."

He noted that, in some cases, AI bots can solve CAPTCHA tests much faster than people.

According to Platformer, Musk previously considered putting X behind a paywall. The outlet reported that Musk discussed the option with venture capitalist David Sacks late last year but decided to implement a verification option instead.

Earlier this month, Musk stated that the platform's advertising revenue was "still down 60%." He blamed the Anti-Defamation League for pressuring the platform's advertisers and threatened to take legal action against the organization.

"Based on what we've heard from advertisers, ADL seems to be responsible for most of our revenue loss," Musk claimed. "Giving them maximum benefit of the doubt, I don't see any scenario where they're responsible for less than 10% of the value destruction, so ~$4 billion."

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