"I’ll pay for oxygen before I pay for this app."
If killing X-formerly-Twitter was owner Elon Musk's goal all along, as some have suggested, he may be about to drive the final death knell with his purported plan to start charging everyone a fee to use the site.
During a live-streamed talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of all people, Musk revealed that he may implement "a small monthly payment" to use the site — a re-floating of the owner's idea last fall to put the whole site behind a paywall.
"It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots," Musk told Netanyahu. "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."
Combatting bots is all fine and good, but the concept of enough users paying for Twitter to remedy the problem sounds pretty far-fetched, to say the least, given that expert estimates in mid-August suggested that only 827,000 people have subscribed to the social network's current paid service. That's a paltry percentage of the 540 million monthly users on the platform Musk himself touted at the end of July.
Though he didn't offer up how much the fee would be, the mercurial business magnate promised it would be a "small amount of money." At the same time, there's arguably no price tag small enough to retain the many users who have been toying with the idea for many months of leaving the site altogether.
"I’ll pay for oxygen before I pay for this app, there's just no way I'm sticking around to subscribe to Twitter," one user posted.
Others took a more humorous approach.
"I would be willing to pay a small fee for Twitter," another user wrote, "on the condition that [Musk] hands it over to Dolly Parton and walks away and she deletes his account."
That's not to mention the fact that Musk still has to find a meaningful way to stop his social media company from hemorrhaging money.
In many ways, the site formerly known as Twitter has been a raging dumpster fire ever since Musk bought it nearly a year ago — and there's a good chance it will turn into a full-on inferno if he forces every user to pay for it.
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