Elon Musk Considers Low-Cost Subscription Model for X Corp – Cryptopolitan


In an intriguing live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk hinted at a bold strategy for X Corp, previously known as Twitter Inc. Musk is actively exploring the possibility of transforming the social media giant into a subscription-based platform available to all users at an incredibly low cost. 

This development could potentially revolutionize how social networks combat the ever-present issue of nonhuman accounts, particularly the infamous bots. Musk’s innovative idea comes as part of his ongoing efforts to reshape the landscape of online social interaction while also addressing the platform’s challenges related to moderation and concerns surrounding antisemitism.

Subscriptions to combat nonhuman accounts

In a candid exchange with Netanyahu, Musk delved into the intricacies of artificial intelligence (AI) and its future implications. He raised the intriguing prospect of adopting a subscription-based model to effectively counter the persistent problem of nonhuman accounts. Musk highlighted the current ease with which malicious actors can create bots, which, he emphasized, costs a mere fraction of a penny.

Musk’s proposed solution involves introducing a nominal fee, likely “a few dollars or something,” for bot creators. Although seemingly modest, this financial hurdle could potentially deter the widespread proliferation of nonhuman accounts and spam on the platform. While Musk refrained from specifying the exact amount, he emphasized that it would remain affordable for most users, ensuring accessibility.

User metrics and a historical perspective

Presently, X Corp boasts an impressive user base of around 550 million monthly active users, generating between 100 million and 200 million daily posts. It remains uncertain whether these figures encompass nonhuman accounts and spam, which have been a concern for Musk ever since his expressed interest in acquiring the platform.

Comparing these active user statistics with historical data from Twitter’s pre-Musk era can be challenging. Twitter previously employed a different metric, the “average monetizable daily active user” (mDAU). According to Twitter’s last publicly disclosed earnings report in the first quarter of 2022, they reported having 229 million mDAUs. While direct comparisons may be challenging due to the change in metrics, these numbers underscore the platform’s significant influence and user base.

Antisemitism and content moderation

During Musk’s conversation with Netanyahu, a prominent topic of discussion was the issue of antisemitism, which has drawn significant criticism since Musk assumed control of the platform. Critiques, including those from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a prominent Jewish civil rights organization, have accused Musk of allowing antisemitic content and hate speech to flourish on X Corp. Notably, Musk has recently taken legal action against the ADL, citing defamation.

While firmly asserting his support for free speech, Musk equally emphasized his strong opposition to antisemitism in all its forms. He acknowledged the formidable challenges inherent in moderating a platform that witnesses millions of daily posts, conceding that “some of those are bound to be problematic.” Nevertheless, Musk’s approach to content moderation has come under scrutiny, with staff reductions within X Corp’s moderation team and occasional deviations from his stated principles of free speech.

Free Speech and responsible moderation

Netanyahu, who initially framed the conversation as a platform to explore the possibilities and challenges associated with harnessing AI for the greater good of society, concluded the discussion by urging Musk to find a delicate balance between preserving free speech and implementing effective content moderation. He recognized the complexity of this endeavor, emphasizing its significance in maintaining a thriving and responsible online environment.

Elon Musk’s contemplation of transforming X Corp into a subscription-based platform with minimal fees represents a groundbreaking potential solution to address the issue of nonhuman accounts on social media. This revelation came in a broader conversation that also touched upon concerns about moderation and the persistence of antisemitism on the platform. As X Corp continues to evolve under Musk’s leadership, the challenge of striking the right balance between free speech and content moderation remains pivotal to its future success.

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