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Musk proposes monthly fee for X (formerly Twitter) to battle bots

When this might happen and how it would affect the platform’s user base is anybody’s guess.

elon musk in front of twitter icon
Image: KnowTechie

Elon Musk, owner of the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, now dubbed X, recently dropped a bombshell.

In a recent chat with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk proposed a radical idea – ditching the free model for a small monthly payment system.

Why, you ask? To kick bot accounts to the curb. Well, that and because the company is struggling to generate any meaningful revenue, and I suppose this is the only way to recoup those losses. But sure, let’s blame it on the “bots.”

Musk’s logic is simple. “It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” he said. Bots are cheap – like, fraction-of-a-penny cheap.

But if they have to cough up a few dollars each month, suddenly, the cost of running a bot army skyrockets. It’s not quite clear how much this ‘nominal fee’ will be, but it’s a safe bet it won’t break the bank.

A screenshot of darkness illuminated by a single light in the night is captured.
Source: Twitter

X Premium: A Glimpse into the Future?

This move isn’t totally out of the blue. X has been pushing its paid service, X Premium, which, for $8 per month or $84 per year, gives you a suite of features. Think editing posts, fewer ads, better search rankings – the works.

And this isn’t the first time Musk has flirted with the idea of a paywall for X. Last year, rumors swirled that Musk was considering putting all of Twitter behind a paywall.

When this might happen and how it would affect the platform’s user base is anybody’s guess.

The numbers

During the same chat, Musk spilled the beans on X’s user metrics. Apparently, the platform has a whopping 550 million monthly users, cranking out between 100 to 200 million posts daily.

But here’s the kicker – we don’t know if these numbers include bots, both the good (news feeds) and the bad (spammers).

Comparing these figures with Twitter’s pre-Musk user base is like comparing apples to oranges.

Twitter used to measure “average monetizable daily active users” (mDAUs), which were basically users they could make money off through ad views. As of Q1 2022, Twitter had 229 million mDAUs.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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