Elon Musk Reveals Plans for Twitter, Now X, Including Monthly Subscription Fees and 550 Million Users
During a livestreamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, discussed his plans for Twitter, now called X. Musk revealed that the social network is moving towards implementing a small monthly payment system to combat the proliferation of bots. However, he did not disclose the cost of the new plan or the specific features included at the lowest tier. Musk also shared new metrics for X, stating that it currently boasts 550 million monthly users who generate 100 million to 200 million posts per day.
Musk did not provide details on the authenticity of the company's monthly users or make a direct comparison to the metrics previously used by Twitter. In May 2022, before Musk's takeover, Twitter reported an "average monetizable daily active usage" of 229 million. The conversation with Netanyahu initially focused on the theoretical risks of artificial intelligence technology and its potential regulation. However, Musk also used the opportunity to address allegations of hate speech and antisemitism on his social network.
Musk has faced criticism from civil rights groups for amplifying bigotry, including antisemitic content and conspiracies, on his platform. He accused the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of attempting to "kill" his social network and blamed the organization for a significant drop in revenue at X. Musk threatened to file a defamation lawsuit against the ADL but has not yet taken legal action. Prior to meeting with Netanyahu, Musk also accused George Soros' foundation of wanting to "destroy" Western civilization.
Despite his controversial history on social media, Musk claimed during the conversation that he is against attacking any group and emphasized the importance of unity and positivity for humanity's goal of becoming a spacefaring civilization. Since acquiring Twitter for approximately $44 billion, Musk has implemented significant changes to the platform, including granting amnesty to previously suspended accounts and restoring the accounts of prominent figures like former President Donald Trump and neo-Nazi website founder Andrew Anglin.
Musk also eliminated Twitter's verification system, known as the "blue check," which helped users identify authentic accounts belonging to public figures. Under X's current system, users who pay a fee can display a blue subscriber badge and have their posts prioritized in other users' feeds. Those who do not pay experience reduced amplification and engagement on the platform. Musk reiterated his belief that turning users into paid subscribers would deter the deployment of bots on the platform.
Currently, X is in the process of obtaining licenses to become a money transmitter across the United States. Public records indicate that the company has already obtained permission to do so in eight states, indicating its intention to expand its financial services offerings.
Elon Musk's plans for Twitter, now X, present a significant shift in the social media landscape that could have far-reaching implications for new businesses.
Implications for New Businesses
The move towards a monthly subscription model could alter the way businesses approach social media marketing. With users potentially having to pay for visibility, businesses may need to reconsider their budget allocations and strategies for social media engagement.
Furthermore, the authenticity of X's user base could impact the effectiveness of businesses' marketing efforts on the platform. If a significant portion of the reported 550 million monthly users are bots, businesses may struggle to reach genuine customers.
In conclusion, while Musk's plans for X could offer new opportunities for businesses, they also present challenges. New businesses must stay abreast of these changes and adapt their strategies accordingly to effectively leverage social media platforms for growth. The controversy surrounding Musk's handling of hate speech and antisemitism on the platform also underscores the importance of businesses aligning with platforms that uphold their values and principles.