Musk: X, formerly Twitter, ‘moving toward’ monthly fee
(NEXSTAR) — From Netflix to Disney, Amazon to Walmart, and countless other services, Americans are already juggling a multitude of subscription fees. They could soon be facing another.
While speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Elon Musk said his company X, formerly Twitter, is “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system,” CNBC reports. He added that the move is intended to combat “vast armies of bots.”
Musk didn’t share any other details, like when this change could happen, what it entails, or what it would cost.
He also didn’t say how many bots may be present on X, either. He did, however, claim that X has garnered 550 million “monthly users.”
A paywall is something Musk has reportedly considered before. X does already have a subscription, X Premium (formerly known as Twitter Blue), that starts at $8 a month and gives members a blue checkmark previously reserved for those who met certain credibility requirements, the ability to edit posts, and other features.
Netanyahu kicked off a U.S. trip in California to talk to Musk about antisemitism on X — while Musk asked him to address his judicial overhaul in Israel. The two also discussed artificial intelligence in a sparsely attended livestream event Monday.
Netanyahu’s high-profile visit to the San Francisco Bay Area comes at a time when Musk is facing accusations of tolerating antisemitic messages on his social media platform, while Netanyahu is confronting political opposition at home and abroad.
The freestyle conversation, which included jokes from both men, soon turned to free speech and antisemitism, with Netanyahu telling Musk he hopes that within the confines of the First Amendment he can find a way to roll back antisemitism and other forms of hatred on his social media platform.
“I encourage you and urge you to find the balance. It’s a tough one,” Netanyahu said.
Musk said that with 100 million to 200 million posts on X in a day, “some of those are gonna be bad.” He reiterated the platform’s policy to not promote or amplify hate speech. Under Musk, the former Twitter changed its rules so that objectionable posts are not usually removed, but instead their visibility is limited so people have to seek them out if they want to see them. Musk calls this “freedom of speech, not freedom of reach.”
Musk is facing accusations of tolerating antisemitic messages on X. The Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil-rights organization, has accused Musk of allowing antisemitism and hate speech to spread on the platform. Its director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said Musk had “amplified” the messages of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who want to ban the league by engaging with them recently on X.
In a Sept. 4 post, Musk claimed that the league was “trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic.” In other posts, he said the league was responsible for a 60% drop in revenue at X. The ADL was among a coalition or groups that urged companies last year to pause their advertising on Twitter after Musk bought the platform. But analysts who track Twitter have argued that Musk’s chaotic changes to the platform — including jettisoning its well-known brand name — have led to a decline in interest from advertisers.
The group met this month with X’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino. Both Musk and Yaccarino have recently posted messages saying they oppose antisemitism.
On Sunday, however, Musk posted that George Soros’ organization “appears to want nothing less than the destruction of western civilization.” Soros, 93, has donated billions of dollars of his personal wealth to liberal and anti-authoritarian causes around the world, making him a favored target among many on the right. The Hungarian-American, who is Jewish, has also been the subject of anti-Semitic attacks and conspiracy theories for decades.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.