Advertisement

Elon Musk Suggests He Will Charge All X/Twitter Users a Fee to Be on the Platform

Elon Musk may flip the switch to make X — the social network formerly known as Twitter — an entirely subscription-based platform.

Musk brought up the idea of charging all users of X/Twitter during a wide-ranging conversation focused on AI that featured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. “We’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system,” Musk told Netanyahu, claiming that “it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.” His comments were initially reported by Bloomberg’s Dave Lee.

More from Variety

Musk didn’t mention timing of his plan to charge X/Twitter users, nor did he say exactly how much it would cost other than to say a monthly fee of “a few dollars or something” would deter the creation of bot accounts. According to Musk, X has 550 million monthly active users, who share 100 million-200 million posts daily on the social network.

Musk has previously mulled the idea of putting Twitter entirely behind a paywall in internal conversations, according to industry news site Platformer. Musk, who also is CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has said X/Twitter ad sales have plunged 50% since he bought the company. “We’re still negative cash flow, due to ~50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load,” Musk posted on July 15.

Currently, X’s subscription program — formerly Twitter Blue, now called X Blue, under Musk’s rebranding effort — is priced starting at $8 per month.

One of the chief perks of X Blue is getting verified check-mark status, although this summer the company added the ability for subscribers to hide the check-mark from public view.

X Blue’s other benefits include the ability to edit a post within a one-hour window; a 50% reduction in ads; “prioritized rankings” of a user’s posts in conversations and search; the ability to post up to 25,000 characters (vs. the 280-character limit); and the ability to upload videos up to 3 hours long or up to 8 gigabytes in size. Blue subscribers also are eligible to receive a share of advertising revenue, initially based on ads displayed in replies to their posts.

In October 2022, After Musk begrudgingly closed the debt-laden $44 billion deal for Twitter, he fired Twitter’s senior management team — and installed himself as CEO. Musk then oversaw mass layoffs at Twitter, cutting an estimated 80% of the company’s workforce.

Earlier this year, Musk hired ex-NBCUniversal sales boss Linda Yaccarino as CEO. Since joining the company in June, she has hired a group of new sales execs. But Musk ultimately remains in control of X/Twitter (e.g., in July he renamed the company after his favorite letter of the alphabet) and has said he will continue to run the company’s product and technology teams.

VIP+ Mogul Memo: X CEO Yaccarino, Expect the Unexpected

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.