Europe 1 with AFP 12:07, September 19, 2023

The social network X (formerly Twitter) could set up "a small monthly payment" for all users, said Monday its owner Elon Musk, stressing the need to reduce the number of robots on the platform.

A "small monthly payment" for all users to use the social network (ex-Twitter)? Its owner Elon Musk raised this possibility on Monday, stressing the need to reduce the number of robots on the platform.

The tech mogul has made many changes since he took over the network for $44 billion in October last year, when it was known as Twitter. It has laid off thousands of employees, introduced a paid option, removed content moderation, and reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

"The only way to fight vast armies of robots"

In July, he said the platform had lost about half of its ad revenue. Bots — accounts run by computer programs rather than humans — are common on X, where they can be used to artificially amplify political messages or fan the flames of racial hatred.

In a meeting with Elon Musk on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the issue of online anti-Semitism and how X could "prevent the use of robots — armies of robots — to replicate and amplify it." Musk responded that the company was "moving toward a small monthly payment for using System X."

"This is the only way I can think of to fight vast armies of robots," he said. "Because a robot costs a fraction of a penny — call it a tenth of a penny — but if someone has to pay even a few dollars, a minor amount, the actual cost of robots is very high." And then you also need to have a new payment method every time you have a new bot."

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The conversation, which aired on X, took place as the boss of the Tesla Motors auto group is mired in a dispute with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a US-based Jewish organization. Musk accused the ADL of making baseless accusations of anti-Semitism that spooked advertisers and hurt his company's revenue, and threatened to sue it for billions of dollars.