Elon Musk says X, formerly Twitter, could charge a monthly fee for access

In an effort to combat bots, Musk says the company is moving to having a small monthly payment for access.

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In July, Musk said the X platform had lost roughly half its advertising revenue [Joel Saget/AFP]

Online platform X, formerly known as Twitter, could introduce a monthly fee for all users, its owner Elon Musk has said, citing the need to cut down on bots.

The tech tycoon has made multiple changes since taking over the site for $44bn in October last year.

He has fired thousands of employees, introduced a paid premium option, cut content moderation and reinstated formerly banned accounts, including that of former United States President Donald Trump.

In July, he said the platform had lost roughly half its advertising revenue.

Bots – accounts run by computer programs rather than humans – are common on X, where they can be used to artificially amplify political messages or racial hatred.

During a talk with Musk on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the question of online anti-Semitism and how X could “prevent the use of bots – armies of bots – to replicate and amplify it”.

Musk replied that the company was “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system”.

“It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” he said. “Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny – call it a tenth of a penny – but if somebody even has to pay a few dollars, 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.”

Currently, X Premium costs $8 a month in the US but charges depend on which country the user is in.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies