The platform is now “moving to having a small, monthly payment for use of the X system” to combat “vast armies of bots”, Mr Musk said during a livestreamed conversation with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.
However, the Tesla and SpaceX boss did not reveal how much the new plan would cost X users or what additional features subscribers would get.
During the interaction with Mr Netanyahu, the Tesla titan said X currently has 550 million “monthly users” who generate 100-200 million posts per day, adding that the new change to include a “small amount of money” would be necessary to deal with the problem posed by bots.
It is unclear whether the multibillionaire’s figure of 550 million monthly users includes bots and also doesn’t allow comparison with the metric the company has used to estimate its user base, called the “average monetizable daily active users” or mDAUs.
But the Tesla chief said a subscription fee would make it more difficult for bots to create accounts as each bot would need a new credit card to register on the platform.
“It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” Mr Musk said.
“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,” he explained.
The platform has historically struggled to curb the activity of bots, with the company’s former security chief Peiter Zatko telling the US Congress last year that Twitter does not even know how many automated accounts are on the site.
Mr Musk even cited bots as a reason to back out of buying the social platform before he went on to complete the deal.
He has also previously discussed putting all of Twitter behind a paywall.
Now the Tesla boss says the rebranded X plans to introduce a new “lower tier pricing” than the $8 monthly fee it currently charges subscribers of its premium Blue service.
The conversation between Mr Musk and the Israeli prime minister also touched on topics like AI regulation as well as hate speech and antisemitism on X.
Mr Musk claimed during the discussion that he’s “against antisemitism” and “anything that promotes hate and conflict”.
“I’m sort of against attacking any group, you know. Doesn’t matter who it is,” the Tesla chief said.
Under the Tesla titan, the platform restored the account of former US president Donald Trump who was banned following the 2021 Capitol riots, as well as the profiles of Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene and neo-Nazi website founder Andrew Anglin.