New X users face paying ‘small fee’ to combat ‘relentless onslaught of bots’, Elon Musk suggests

16 April 2024, 09:40 | Updated: 16 April 2024, 09:42

Musk suggested new users could be charged a small annual fee before posting
Musk suggested new users could be charged a small annual fee before posting. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Elon Musk has suggested that new X users will be charged before they post in a bid to tackle the ‘relentless onslaught of bots’.

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The policy has already been in implemented in New Zealand and the Philippines and was brought in to 'reduce spamming'.

In those countries, new accounts were charged a 'small annual fee' before being able to post, like, bookmark and reply.

The policy reads: "This is to reduce spam and to create a better experience for everyone. You can still follow accounts and browse X for free."

Responding to a rumour that the policy may be expanded elsewhere, Mr Musk said on Monday: "Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots.

"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."

Users are already able to pay for an 'X Pro' account, costing either £7 or £14 a month, depending on the plan.

This allows to miss out on adverts and get paid based on interactions.

Mr Musk confirmed his $44bn takeover of Twitter in October 2022, despite previously insisting he had pulled out.

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The billionaire had agreed to a takeover deal in April 2022 - but pulled out in the summer, claiming there were too many bots operating on the platform.

In the summer, Mr Musk ditched Twitter's famous bird logo and rebranded the social media site as X.

The Tesla founder wants to create a 'super app', on which people can post, text, call, watch TV and use mobile banking.

X owner Elon Musk
X owner Elon Musk. Picture: Getty

X Chief executive Linda Yaccarino said at the time: "X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.

"Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine. There’s absolutely no limit to this transformation. X will be the platform that can deliver, well….everything.

"@elonmusk and I are looking forward to working with our teams and every single one of our partners to bring X to the world."