According a Techcrunch report, In a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, X owner Elon Musk announced a potential shift in the social network’s business model. Musk proposed the introduction of a monthly subscription fee for the use of the X system, citing the need to combat the pervasive issue of bots on the platform.
“The only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots is by implementing a small monthly payment,” explained Musk. He emphasized that while bots currently cost a fraction of a penny to operate, introducing a nominal fee would significantly deter their proliferation. Additionally, each time a bot creator wanted to deploy a new bot, they would need a new payment method, further raising the bar for entry.
While Musk did not specify the exact cost of the proposed subscription, he characterized it as a “small amount of money.” This development comes as X reports a staggering 550 million monthly users, who collectively generate between 100 to 200 million posts daily. It remains unclear whether these figures include automated accounts, such as news feeds or spammers.
However, this user base metric doesn’t directly align with Twitter’s pre-Musk figures, which were assessed using the “average monetizable daily active user” (mDAU) metric. Twitter’s mDAU stood at 229 million during Q1 2022.
Regarding the timeline for implementing the subscription model, Musk provided no specifics. Since taking over the platform, Musk has been actively promoting the X Premium subscription product (previously Twitter Blue), which offers enhanced features for a monthly fee of $8 or an annual fee of $84. Features include post editing, reduced ad exposure, prioritized rankings, extended post length, and more.
While X has not disclosed the exact number of paid subscribers, independent research indicates that X Premium has not garnered a majority of X users. Current estimates suggest that only 827,615 users are subscribed to X Premium.
This move to potentially charge all X users is not a recent consideration for Musk. Last year, reports surfaced suggesting that he was contemplating placing the entirety of Twitter behind a paywall. The future of X’s monetization strategy remains a topic of keen interest for users and industry observers alike.