Elon Musk, the maverick tech mogul and world's richest man, is set to introduce another groundbreaking change to X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter. In a recent live conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk declared his intentions to initiate “a small monthly payment” for users to access the service.
Battling the Bots
Musk's rationale behind this audacious move revolves around thwarting the "vast armies of bots" that currently plague the platform. Since acquiring Twitter for a whopping $44bn just last year, he has introduced several notable modifications.
These changes range from enabling users to purchase verified check marks to overturning the ban on former US President Donald Trump. Placing the entire platform behind a paywall, however, would be Musk's boldest measure to date.
The underlying idea is that imposing a fee would make orchestrating bot campaigns economically challenging. Social media consultant Matt Navarra weighs in on the potential impact of this strategy: “The logic and the principle of the idea is not a bad one.
I think if a significant number of people are willing to pony up for a subscription, it will have a potential positive impact in reducing bots and spam accounts”. However, Navarra also expresses reservations, doubting whether Musk can persuade a sufficient number of users to embrace the change.
Challenging Times for X's Premium Model
Despite Musk's confidence in the new payment initiative, X has been grappling with challenges related to its current subscription offering. Dubbed X Premium, this subscription plan allows members to enjoy perks like verified check marks and the long-sought ability to edit posts.
Priced at $8 a month in the US, it hasn’t been the roaring success many anticipated. A recent report from Mashable sheds light on the tepid response. Although the platform boasts over 550 million monthly users, only a minuscule portion — 94,000 to be precise — opted for X Premium between July 1 and August 10.
The road ahead for X is filled with uncertainty, but Musk's continual drive for innovation and reform is indisputable. Whether the broader user base will appreciate and support these bold moves remains to be seen.