Using the online platform X, formerly Twitter, could soon no longer be free. Company owner Elon Musk said on Monday that he could imagine that in the future a “small” monthly fee would be due for all users in order to take action against fake user accounts, so-called bots. “It’s the only way I can think of to deal with massive bot armies.”
Bots are called user accounts that are not operated directly by human users, but by computer programs. There are many such automatically generated accounts on X that can be used to influence online discussions.
Creating and running bots currently costs “a fraction of a penny,” Musk said. So if accounts cost a few dollars, that would increase the cost of bots many times over. “And then you have to find a new payment method every time you have a new bot,” he continued.
Meeting with Israel’s head of government
The multi-billionaire bought Twitter last year for $44 billion and has changed the network significantly since then. He laid off thousands of employees, introduced a paid premium offering, scaled back active moderation of online content and lifted the bans on controversial users such as former American President Donald Trump. In July, Musk said the company’s advertising revenue had halved since the acquisition.
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On Monday, Musk met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The conversation, which was broadcast live on X, was, among other things, about anti-Semitism on the platform. Netanyahu specifically asked how X could prevent “bot armies” from fueling anti-Semitism in online debates.
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