Elon Musk, the owner of Online Platform X, has hinted at the possibility of introducing a monthly fee for all users in a bid to tackle the rampant issue of bots on the platform.
Musk, who acquired the social media site for a whopping $44 billion in October last year when it was still known as Twitter, has been on a mission to reshape the platform dramatically.
One of his boldest moves to date has been the mass termination of thousands of employees, setting the stage for a series of sweeping changes. These changes include the introduction of a paid premium subscription option, significant reductions in content moderation, and the controversial reinstatement of accounts, notably that of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
The turbulence facing the platform became even more evident when Musk disclosed in July that Online Platform X had suffered a substantial 50% drop in its advertising revenue, casting a shadow over its future prospects.
The core issue haunting the platform is the proliferation of bots—accounts operated by computer programs rather than humans. Bots have become commonplace on Online Platform X and are frequently exploited to artificially amplify political messages or propagate racial hatred.
During a candid conversation on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised concerns about the rise of online anti-Semitism and inquired about how Online Platform X planned to combat the use of bot armies to spread and intensify such hatred.
In response, Musk revealed his strategic vision: “We are moving towards implementing a small monthly payment for the use of the Online Platform X system. It’s the only viable solution I can think of to counteract the widespread prevalence of bot armies.”
Musk went on to explain, “The cost of running a bot is minuscule, perhaps even as low as a tenth of a penny. However, if users are required to pay even a nominal fee, say a few dollars, the effective cost of deploying bots becomes prohibitively high. Additionally, perpetrators would need to establish new payment methods for each new bot, further complicating their efforts.”
This critical conversation unfolded on Online Platform X itself and comes at a time when Elon Musk is embroiled in a heated dispute with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a prominent U.S.-based Jewish organization.
Musk has accused the ADL of unjustly accusing him of anti-Semitism, resulting in a loss of advertisers and a significant hit to his company’s revenue. He has even threatened legal action, potentially seeking billions of dollars in damages.
The future of Online Platform X hangs in the balance as Musk navigates through these challenges and prepares to roll out the proposed monthly fee system to counter the bot epidemic.
With a contentious backdrop and sweeping transformations in progress, the platform’s fate remains uncertain, but Musk’s determination to address the bot issue head-on may be a turning point for the social media giant.