X/Twitter will charge new users to post, Elon Musk says

Making users pay is only way to stop bots taking over platform

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 17 April 2024 19:12 BST
Elon Musk Says Charging New X Users A 'Small Fee' Is The Only Way To Curb Bot Onslaught

X, formerly known as Twitter, will make users to pay post and interact with others, Elon Musk has said.

The owner suggested that requiring a “small fee” from users to access the site’s central features is the only way to stop it being overtaken by fake and bot accounts.

Last year, X, formerly known as Twitter, launched a pilot scheme in New Zealand and the Philippines which required new users to pay a one-dollar-a-year subscription in order to access key features.

Mr Musk’s comments suggest that trial will now be rolled out more widely.

“Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots,” he said.

“Current AI (and troll farms) can pass ‘Are you a bot?’ with ease.

“The onslaught of fake accounts also uses up the available namespace, so many good handles are taken as a result.”

In a further reply to another account which questioned the approach, Mr Musk said the fee might only be in place for the first three months after a new user joins the platform.

The billionaire said eradicating fake and bot accounts was a key priority for him when taking over the platform in late 2022. However, many users have since reported seeing an increase in spam content, in part due to Mr Musk’s substantial cutbacks to staff, including the firm’s content moderation team.

The revamp to the verification system, which means anyone can now pay to be verified on the platform and have their posts and replies placed more prominently on the site, has also been attributed by some to the rising visibility of spam content.

Mr Musk has previously suggested that all users could eventually have to pay to use X.

Since his takeover, it has been reported that the platform has seen substantial revenue decline as advertisers have abandoned it over concerns about Mr Musk’s belief in “absolute free speech” and his tolerance of more controversial content.

It has led the company to turn to subscription options – including X Premium, which enables users to pay to be verified – in order to open up new income streams.

Additional reporting by agencies

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