Friday, September 29, 2023

Elon Musk considers charging us all to use X (Twitter)

Elon Musk said he is evaluating the possibility of applying a monthly payment to all users of X, formerly known as Twitter. In a meeting with Isrtale Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the tycoon said the measure would be necessary to address the problem of bots on the social network.

“It’s the only way I can think of to combat the vast armies of bots,” said Musk, who bought the company last year for about $44 billion. He explained that developing a bot costs a fraction of a cent. But if someone has to pay to have a profile, the effective cost would become very high.

Musk added that every time someone wants to add a bot to the platform, they would need another new payment method. He did not say how much the eventual subscription would cost, in the meeting that was broadcast live. He only referred to it as a “small amount of money.”

Musk also shared new metrics for X. He said the platform now has 550 million monthly users, who generate between 100 and 200 million posts each day. He had published a similar number of users last month. But I don’t clarify, neither then nor now, if he was talking about active users or if he was counting the “army of bots” he complained about.

Twitter had 229 million “average monetizable daily active users” in May 2022, according to a statement made before the sale of the company. It is an indicator that Twitter used to promote how many people could see their ads. By last November, according to a report published by Musk himself, the network had 259.4 million active users diaries.

A new payment to compensate Twitter Premium?

One of the most resonant measures that Musk took upon assuming command of the company was the launch of X Premium, formerly known as Twitter Blue. This paid service costs $8 per month.

In return, the social network offers those who subscribe some extra functions, such as the possibility of editing publications or writing longer texts. It has also proposed an advertising revenue sharing model, which allows all X Premium subscribers to opt for a portion of the platform’s advertising revenue.

Twitter has not formally revealed how successful its current payment system has been. An independent investigation, however, ensures that it has not done so well, despite the announced benefits. Nearly 820 thousand users would be subscribed to X Premiumaccording to data collected by outside researcher Travis Brown, who has tracked membership since its launch.

Musk says that the eventual payment for everyone on Twitter is to address the problem of bots, but he has also acknowledged several times the serious economic crisis of the social network. Last July, he confirmed that Twitter’s cash flow remains negative, following a 50% drop in advertising revenue.

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