- During a livestream, Elon Musk floated requiring all Twitter users to pay a monthly fee to access the platform.
- Musk believes charging a “small” fee could deter spammers and bot accounts by increasing costs.
- He stated Twitter currently has 550 million monthly active users generating 100-200 million posts per day.
- A mandatory subscription would be different from the existing $8 per month Twitter Blue optional premium service.
Twitter, now X, owner Elon Musk made waves this week by proposing the platform could soon require all users to pay a monthly subscription fee. The potential major shift in Twitter’s business model was revealed during Musk’s live streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Tesla CEO suggested implementing a “small monthly payment” in order to combat the ongoing challenge of spam bots across the platform. The fee would present a barrier for bot creators, forcing them to use unique payment info for each automated account.
Musk Believes Fee Could Deter Rampant Bot Abuse
“It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” Musk stated during the talk. “Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny — call it a tenth of a penny — but even if it has to pay…a few dollars or something, the effective cost of bots is very high.”
By requiring a paid subscription for any Twitter use, the economics of maintaining vast bot networks would become far less viable. Of course, Elon Musk did not specify what amount the hypothetical monthly charge would be. He simply described it as a “small amount of money.”
The proposal reflects Musk’s well-known concern over Twitter’s ongoing struggles with spam and automated bot accounts. Though he did not provide an update on what percentage of the platform’s activity is driven by bots.
Twitter Currently Has 550 Million Monthly Users
Elon Musk did reveal new user metrics for Twitter, stating it now has approximately 550 million monthly active users. He said those users are generating between 100 to 200 million posts per day.
It’s unclear whether those figures include bot accounts used for spam, news feeds and other purposes. For comparison, Twitter’s last earnings report before Musk’s takeover indicated it had 229 million “monetizable” daily active users.
The notion of placing Twitter behind a universal paywall is not a new concept for Musk. He was reported to be weighing the idea shortly after acquiring the company last year.
Monthly Fee Would Be Separate from Twitter Blue Subscription
If implemented, charging every user a monthly fee to access Twitter would be distinctly different from the platform’s existing Twitter Blue subscription.
The $8 per month Twitter Blue service provides premium features like edit capability, less ads, higher search rankings and longer video uploads. But it remains optional, with the majority of users accessing Twitter for free.
Making even basic Twitter functionality paid-only would arguably be the most controversial change under Elon Musk’s stewardship to date.
Paid Subscription Model Would Significantly Alter Twitter’s Business
Shifting the entire Twitter user base to a paid subscription plan presents a major risk in terms of audience retention. The company could potentially shed a substantial portion of users unwilling to pay a monthly fee.
On the other hand, subscription revenue could offset or even surpass income from advertising if enough users converted to paid accounts. But it’s far from certain whether Musk will follow through with fundamentally altering Twitter’s business model.
For now, the remarks represent the latest unpredictable proclamation from the outspoken CEO. Many major changes at Twitter, like large-scale layoffs, have followed hastily made pronouncements by Elon Musk. The viability and reception of a paid subscription mandate remain to be seen.