Musk to fight army of X bots with subscription fee for users

A live-streamed discussion on AI and antisemitism took place on X, featuring attendees such as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and X owner Elon Musk.
Sejal Sharma
Elon Musk (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu (right)
Elon Musk (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu (right)


A conversation around artificial intelligence, antisemitism and the future of technology was live streamed on X, previously called Twitter. Attendees included Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, X owner Elon Musk, President of cofounder of OpenAI Greg Brockman and MIT physicist Max Tegmark.

Speaking about combating hate on X, Musk said that X will likely charge a 'small monthly payment' from its users. "It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots," said Musk. "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 said.

According to Musk, the cost of operating bots on the platform would go up as the bot’s operator will have to pay a subscription fee for each account. X already has a paid subscription called X Premium in place, which was previously called Twitter Blue. The service provides users with the ability to edit their posts, earn advertising revenue, access increased character limits for posting, and offers various other features, all available for either $8 per month or a discounted rate of $84 per year.

Fighting antisemitism with a subscription fee

Musk’s plan came around when Netanyahu asked him if it was "technically possible" to limit "armies of bots" on X from amplifying antisemitism. 

"I know your commitment to free speech," said Netanyahu. “But I also know your opposition to antisemitism. You've spoken about it. You've tweeted about it. And all I could say is, I hope you find within the confines of the First Amendment the ability to stop not only antisemitism, or roll it back as best you can, but any collective hatred of people."

Antisemitism on X is not a new thing. A research published earlier this year found a spike in antisemitic posts on Twitter since Musk took over the company on October 27, 2022. Calling it 'The Musk effect,' the research published in March 2023 by CASM Technology and Institute for Strategic Dialogue Researchers found that the volume of English-language antisemitic tweets more than doubled in the three-month period following Musk’s takeover.

The research also says that the rate at which new antisemitic accounts were being created on the platform more than tripled after Musk. Naturally then, the antisemitic content removed by Twitter increased, with 12 percent of antisemitic tweets subsequently unavailable for collection, compared to six percent before the takeover.

The research noted that "hate speech remains more accessible on the platform than before Musk’s acquisition".

Netanyahu accused of providing Musk with political cover

According to the New York Times, the response to the talk received a positive response from back home in Israel, but the other side wasn’t all too happy. Netanyahu was accused of providing Musk with political cover at a time of rising antisemitism on his platform. Yizhar Hess, a vice chairman of the nonprofit World Zionist Organization, said, “Choosing to pal around with Elon Musk at a time when antisemitism runs rampant on X not only sends the wrong message to Jews around the world, but puts them at risk.”

The AI Roundtable also discussed the pitfalls and advantages of artificial intelligence. Addressing Musk and Brockman, Netanyahu said, “You are changing history and with such power comes enormous responsibility. And that’s the crux of what we are talking about here… is how do we inject a measure of responsibility and ethics into this exponentially changing development.”

You can watch the full recording of the AI Roundtable here:

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