Another day another example of why we should always be wary of people who call themselves geniuses: Elon Musk has floated the idea of a compulsory monthly fee to use X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

According to reports, Musk threw the idea out earlier this week during a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Musk said that the prospect of a  “a small monthly payment” would be one of the ways the company could eliminate bots on the platform.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk, billionaire and chief executive officer of Tesla, at the Viva Tech fair in Paris, France, on Friday, June 16, 2023. Musk predicted his Neuralink Corp. would carry out its first brain implant later this year. Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Yes, because what says consumer retention than beginning to charge them for a service that was free and has become increasingly hostile. Who wouldn’t pay a monthly fee to be harassed online? It’s ironic that the entire conversation occurred during a livestream about the rise of antisemitism on the social media platform.

“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 added. Under the new rules, bot creators would need to add another payment method for each bot.”

No amount was specified but the current going rate for a blue tick on X Premium aka Twitter Blue aka what was once just a verified account is $8 per month. Back when this was first introduced, it was met with solid criticism and even had a direct impact on several business’ share price after accounts changed their name and then paid for the blue tick verification.

Twitter slash X has never confirmed just how many users have crossed over to be paid subscribers since the tiered experience was put into place, but most estimates are confident that it’s a minority of users with one analysis suggesting only 827,615 currently subscribers to X Premium.