Elon Musk has hinted at a potential shift for X, the rebranded Twitter, towards a fully subscription-based model. During a wide-ranging discussion on AI, which also featured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk brought up the idea of introducing a small monthly fee for all X/Twitter users.
He argued that this move is necessary to combat the issue of bots on the platform. While Musk didn’t specify when this subscription plan might be implemented or how much it would cost, he did mention that X currently boasts 550 million monthly active users who generate 100 million to 200 million posts on the social network daily.
Elon Musk has previously considered the idea of placing Twitter entirely behind a paywall in internal discussions, as reported by the industry news site Platformer. Musk, who serves as the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, noted that X/Twitter’s ad revenue had declined by 50% since his acquisition of the company. He stated, “We’re still experiencing negative cash flow due to a ~50% drop in advertising revenue along with a substantial debt load,” in a post made on July 15.
As part of Musk’s rebranding efforts, X’s subscription program, previously known as Twitter Blue, has been renamed X Blue and starts at a price of $8 per month. One of the primary benefits of X Blue is the ability to attain verified checkmark status, although the company recently added the option for subscribers to hide this checkmark from public view during the summer.
X Blue offers several notable benefits to its subscribers, including 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 content with up to 25,000 characters (compared to the usual 280-character limit), and the capacity to upload videos as long as 3 hours or as large as 8 gigabytes. Additionally, Blue subscribers have the opportunity to share in advertising revenue, initially based on ads displayed in replies to their posts.
Back in October 2022, after Elon Musk reluctantly closed the $44 billion acquisition deal for Twitter, he made the decision to dismiss Twitter’s senior management team and took on the role of CEO himself. Subsequently, Musk oversaw a significant round of layoffs at Twitter, cutting roughly 80% of the company’s workforce.
Earlier this year, Musk appointed former NBCUniversal sales executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO. Since joining the company in June, she has brought in a new group of sales executives. However, it’s important to note that Musk continues to maintain control over X/Twitter (he even renamed the company in July after his favorite letter of the alphabet) and has affirmed his intention to oversee the company’s product and technology teams.