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Musk Will Charge New X Users ‘Small Fee’ For Posting, Tweet Suggests

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Topline

X owner Elon Musk suggested Monday new users on the social network formerly known as Twitter will need to pay a small fee to use basic functions on the platform—a change he says is needed to combat a bot problem that has plagued the site for years.

Key Facts

Musk’s tweet, which was a reply to speculation about charging new accounts a small annual fee to post, like, bookmark and reply, didn’t specify when the fee will kick in or how it will work, but said a fee “is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots” on X.

Musk said artificial intelligence bots and internet trolls can pass bot-identifying tests “with ease.”

The fee mentioned by Musk is similar to one already introduced to new users in New Zealand and the Philippines last October as part of X’s “Not a Bot” program, which required new accounts to pay a $1 annual fee to post, like, reply and more.

The announcement of an incoming fee for new users comes less than two weeks after X initiated a purge of bots on the platform that Musk said would result in the people responsible for bot accounts having “the full force of the law” beared upon them.

Forbes Valuation

We estimate Musk’s net worth at $187.5 billion, making him the third-wealthiest person in the world behind LVMH chief Bernard Arnault and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Big Question

Will all users on X eventually have to pay a small fee to access the platform’s basic functions? It’s unclear, though Musk has sought to charge users for certain premium features like the ability to edit posts, part of a bid to boost the site’s revenue and combat turbulent ad sales.

Key Background

Musk has often vowed to reduce bots on X, though the issue has continued to persist since his purchase of Twitter in 2022, when he tweeted “we will defeat the spam bots or die trying.” The platform’s “Not a Bot” program and its $1 annual charge for new users in New Zealand and the Philippines was touted as a means of evaluating a “potentially powerful measure” to help X combat bots and spammers. X said it would share results about the program “soon” when it was released last year, though it is not yet clear if any results have been shared by the platform. The exact number of bots on X has not been identified, though researchers have found bot activity on X has increased during popular events such as the 2024 Super Bowl and the first Republican primary debate.

Further Reading

Musk’s X Says Its Purging Bots—Here’s How The Platform Has Struggled To Squash Its Bot Problem (Forbes)

X Will Charge New Accounts $1 For Basic Functions Like Posting In New Zealand And The Philippines (Forbes)

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