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Elon Musk suggests that X, formerly known as Twitter, could go behind a paywall

X CEO Elon Musk
X CEO Elon Musk Copyright Mandel NGAN / AFP
Copyright Mandel NGAN / AFP
By Euronews with AFP
Published on Updated
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The billionaire told Israel's prime minister that the move could help combat bots which imitate human behaviour.


The social network X, formerly known as Twitter, may force users to pay for access to the platform. 

Owner Elon Musk suggested that he could introduce a "small monthly payment" for all users, blaming the number of bots on the platform for the proposal. 

The tech tycoon has made many changes since he took over the network for $44 billion (€41 billion) in October last year.

He has laid off thousands of employees, introduced a pay option for verification, removed content moderation and reinstated formerly banned accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump.

In July, he reported that the platform had lost around 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 fan the flames of racial hatred.

In an interview with Musk on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the issue of online anti-Semitism.

"I hope you'll find the ability to stop anti-Semitism (on X) or roll it back as much as possible," within the limits of free speech, Netanyahu told X's chairman.

"I know you're determined to fight any collective hatred of the people that anti-Semitism targets, and I hope you succeed. It's not an easy task, but I encourage you to strike a balance," added the prime minister, visiting the United States for the UN General Assembly this week.

Elon Musk replied that he couldn't prevent all hate messages from being published on X. He said that the company was "moving towards a small monthly payment for the use of System X".

"It's the only way I can think of to fight vast armies of robots," he said. "Because a robot costs a fraction of a cent - call it a dime - but if someone has to pay even a few dollars, a minor amount, the effective cost of robots is very high.

"And then you also have to have a new payment method every time you have a new bot."

The conversation, which was broadcast on X, took place as the boss of the Tesla Motors automotive group is embroiled in a row with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish organisation based in the USA.

Musk has accused the ADL of making unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism that have scared off advertisers and hurt his company's revenues and has threatened to sue it for billions of dollars.

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