Elon Musk is considering making everyone pay to use Twitter

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By Kim Novak

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Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter has been contentious since its outset and his latest proposal is set to ruffle even more feathers.

The billionaire, 52, famously bought the social media platform last year for a reported $44 billion and immediately began implementing many controversial changes.

As well as firing most of Twitter's senior staff including its CEO Parag Agrawal, Musk also started charging users to have a blue check mark on their profile, removing the ones that had been given out prior for verified accounts.

Despite the charge for a blue check mark being divisive enough, Musk is now reportedly considering making all users pay a small fee to use Twitter - which he has also rebranded as 'X' - in order to weed out bot accounts.

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Elon Musk is exploring ways to get rid of bots on Twitter. Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images

According to reports, Musk floated the idea of charging every user to access the platform during a discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The pair had been joined by Greg Brockman, president and co-founder of Open AI, as well as physicist Max Tegmark to speak about the future of technology and issues that may arise due to artificial intelligence.

Musk has been open about his desire to eradicate bot accounts from Twitter and opened up about a new way he would attempt to curb the millions of fake accounts that have been set up since Twitter's existence.

He explained, per Social Media Today: "The single most important reason that we’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system is that it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.

"Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny, or a tenth of a penny, but if somebody even has to pay a few dollars or something, 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."

He added that the cost to use the site would be a lower tier than premium, which currently costs $8 a month.

Musk explained that part of his decision to buy Twitter was in order to make it a bot-free space, saying in a press release at the time: "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.

"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."

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Elon Musk's changes to Twitter have been divisive since the outset. Credit: Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images

Despite Musk's efforts so far, according to an analysis after the first Republican primary debate of 2023, bot activity is "worse than ever", as over 1,000 accounts were spreading incorrect information as the debate was taking place, with the tweets from these accounts being viewed by over three million users.

Associate professor Dr Timothy Graham told the Guardian: "It is clear that X is not doing enough to moderate content and has no clear strategy for dealing with political disinformation."

Currently, it's not known when Musk plans to introduce a paywall for all users on Twitter.

Featured image credit: Chesnot/Getty Images

 

Elon Musk is considering making everyone pay to use Twitter

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter has been contentious since its outset and his latest proposal is set to ruffle even more feathers.

The billionaire, 52, famously bought the social media platform last year for a reported $44 billion and immediately began implementing many controversial changes.

As well as firing most of Twitter's senior staff including its CEO Parag Agrawal, Musk also started charging users to have a blue check mark on their profile, removing the ones that had been given out prior for verified accounts.

Despite the charge for a blue check mark being divisive enough, Musk is now reportedly considering making all users pay a small fee to use Twitter - which he has also rebranded as 'X' - in order to weed out bot accounts.

wp-image-1263229003 size-full
Elon Musk is exploring ways to get rid of bots on Twitter. Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images

According to reports, Musk floated the idea of charging every user to access the platform during a discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The pair had been joined by Greg Brockman, president and co-founder of Open AI, as well as physicist Max Tegmark to speak about the future of technology and issues that may arise due to artificial intelligence.

Musk has been open about his desire to eradicate bot accounts from Twitter and opened up about a new way he would attempt to curb the millions of fake accounts that have been set up since Twitter's existence.

He explained, per Social Media Today: "The single most important reason that we’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system is that it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.

"Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny, or a tenth of a penny, but if somebody even has to pay a few dollars or something, 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."

He added that the cost to use the site would be a lower tier than premium, which currently costs $8 a month.

Musk explained that part of his decision to buy Twitter was in order to make it a bot-free space, saying in a press release at the time: "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.

"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."

wp-image-1263229012 size-full
Elon Musk's changes to Twitter have been divisive since the outset. Credit: Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images

Despite Musk's efforts so far, according to an analysis after the first Republican primary debate of 2023, bot activity is "worse than ever", as over 1,000 accounts were spreading incorrect information as the debate was taking place, with the tweets from these accounts being viewed by over three million users.

Associate professor Dr Timothy Graham told the Guardian: "It is clear that X is not doing enough to moderate content and has no clear strategy for dealing with political disinformation."

Currently, it's not known when Musk plans to introduce a paywall for all users on Twitter.

Featured image credit: Chesnot/Getty Images