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Elon Musk Says X Will Charge Fee to Reduce Bots

Elon Musk said Friday (April 12) that charging users a “small fee” to become active on X may be necessary to reduce bots and spam on the social media platform.

“Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots,” he wrote in a Monday (April 15) reply on X. “Current AI (and troll farms) can pass ‘are you a bot’ with ease.”

“The onslaught of fake accounts also uses up the available namespace, so many good handles are taken as a result,” he added in a follow-up reply.

These replies came in response to a user’s post speculating that X might start charging new users before they reply, like or bookmark a post. This post included an image showing text saying that X would require a small annual fee to allow these actions in order to reduce spam and create a better experience for users.

Another user suggested in a reply that users be allowed an alternative to paying, such as doing something “extremely computationally expensive.”

“That is way harder than paying a tiny fee,” Musk said in a reply. “This is only for new users. They will be able to write actions for free after three months.”

No details have been released about the amount of the fees or when this new policy will be implemented, TechCrunch reported Monday.

In October 2023, X began charging new unverified users $1 per year in New Zealand and the Philippines, according to the report. New users in those regions could sign up and read posts for free but could only post content in any way after paying the fee.

When announcing this “Not a Bot” program for the two regions, which includes a subscription component, X said it was designed to bolster the platform’s efforts to reduce spam, manipulation of the platform and bot activity.

“This will evaluate a potentially powerful measure to help us combat bots and spammers on X, while balancing platform accessibility with the small fee amount,” the company said in its Oct. 17 announcement. “Within this test, existing users are not affected.”