Elon Musk said that X, formerly known as Twitter, is moving to a “small monthly payment system” because “it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.”
In a discussion Monday with Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk suggested that it would be a lower-tier pricing structure than its $8-per-month Twitter Blue, its premium subscription service.
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“We’re wanting it to be just a small amount of money,” Musk said. “It’s a longer discussion, but in my view this is the only defense against vast armies of bots, because as AI gets very, very good, it’s actually able to pass these sort of CAPTCHA tests better than humans.”
Musk has long complained about X/Twitter’s battle against bots, but he’s also reportedly considered putting the social media platform behind a paywall since shortly after he purchased it last year.
His statements also come as the company grapples with a loss of ad revenue. Musk wrote in July that the company had seen a nearly 50% drop in ad revenue plus a heavy debt load.
Netanyahu, meanwhile, urged Musk to try to roll back antisemitism on his platform. “It doesn’t stop you from coming out as you have in every possible forum and condemn antisemitism,” he said.
Last month, Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, claiming it was making “unfounded accusations” that antisemitism was being allowed to spread on the platform as Musk has reinstated accounts. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told CNN that “what’s alarming is the rise of antisemitism across the country. Like, we’ve got to see the big picture here. Literally, anti-Jewish acts have reached historic levels in the United States. The highest number we’ve seen in 40-some-odd years of tracking it.”
In his interview with Netanyahu, Musk said that “free speech at times means that somebody you don’t like is saying something you don’t like. If you don’t have that, then it’s not free speech. That doesn’t mean some sort of negativity should be pushed upon people, because for the X platform, unless it is interesting, entertaining, engaging, then we will lose users. People will not want to use our system if they find it to be unpleasant.”
Netanyahu asked Musk if it was possible to prevent the use of bots “so at least if you get a crazy guy and a hateful guy, let him be speaking for one voice rather than an army of fake millions.”
“Absolutely,” Musk said.
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