Elon Musk said Monday he’s moving to require all users to pay a monthly fee to use his social media site X, previously called Twitter.
Why it matters: The comments, which he made during a live-streamed event on X with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, come as the company struggles to regain trust with advertisers.
Musk said earlier this month that Twitter’s U.S. ad revenue was down 60%. He has blamed the company’s ad challenges on civil rights and consumer groups putting pressure on big brands.
Driving the news: During the live conversation, Netanyahu brought up the challenge of preventing large armies of bots that amplify hate speech.
Musk replied: “The single-most important reason we’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system is it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.”
Musk said adding a subscription would make it much more difficult for bots to create accounts, because each bot would need to register a new credit card.
He added that the company plans to come out with “a lower tier pricing,” than what it currently charges for its X Premium subscribers, which is around $8 monthly.
Yes, but: Musk has often teased new products or innovations, only to change course later down the line.
The big picture: Few social networks operate on subscriptions only, although more are experimenting with subscription products amid a weak ad market.
Data shows adoption of Premium X, the renamed subscription product that was formerly Twitter Blue, was slow, as of earlier this year.
Citing a third-party estimate, Mashable reported in May that roughly 640,000 to 680,000 people were subscribed to Twitter Blue as of the end of April.
Twitter first rolled out Twitter Blue in 2021. Musk overhauled the subscription last November, increasing the price and changing some features. Most notably, Musk changed Twitter’s verification system to only allow paid subscribers to be verified.