Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has stirred up a whirlwind of controversy with his recent suggestion to place Twitter, commonly referred to as “X,” behind a paywall. This proposal, unveiled during a livestream event featuring Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, has ignited a debate about the future of the social media platform.
During the livestream, Musk articulated his rationale behind the potential paywall, stating, “The single most important reason that we are moving to having a small monthly payment for the use of the X system is that it is the only way I could think of to combat vast armies of bots.” He went on to elaborate, “We are actually going to come up with a lower-tier pricing. We want it to be just a small amount of money. It’s a longer discussion, but this is actually the only defense against armies of bots.”
While Musk’s paywall concept has been the subject of speculation for some time, tech newsletter Platformer reported that he had discussed the idea with venture capitalist David Sacks, one of his advisers, in the previous year.
The announcement has triggered a wide range of reactions from Twitter users, with some expressing concerns about the potential implications of a paywall on the platform.
One user expressed skepticism, asserting, “There really is no doubt that he simply wants to kill the platform.” Another declared Twitter “dead,” firmly stating, “No way I’m paying for Musk’s space vanity-project scam.”
Comedian Chelsea Hart raised concerns about the impact on free speech and citizen journalism in certain countries, a cause Musk claims to support. Hart argued, “If you want to charge for this platform, you are personally putting a nail in the coffin of any and all citizen journalism from countries under international sanctions. The most brutalized among us will be personally shut up by you.”
In solidarity with the sentiment, another user, Bradley Wall, announced his intention to leave the platform if a paywall is implemented, saying, “I just want you all to know I’ve loved connecting with you, sharing my thoughts and my adventures.” Another user supported this stance, emphasizing, “I believe social media should be free to users, so if that happens, I’ll be decamping to the other place permanently.”
Response from Twitter
As of now, representatives for Twitter (X) have not provided an official response to the proposal. Insider’s request for comment, made outside of regular working hours, has yet to receive a reply.
The proposed introduction of a paywall on Twitter has elicited mixed responses from users. We invite our readers to share their thoughts and opinions on this development in the comment section below. What do you think of the potential paywall coming to Twitter?