Elon Musk is planning to make X (formerly known as Twitter) a paid-for platform for all users.
In a bid to tackle the issue of rampant bot activity, he unveiled proposals to roll out small monthly subscriptions during a live conversation with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Musk did not specify how much the plans would cost or what features would be included at the lowest tier.
However, he did claim that X now has 550 million monthly users that typically post 100 million to 200 million posts a day – although it’s not yet known what proportion of this data is bots versus authentic users.
This marks a 140% increase on the “average monetizable daily active usage” of 229 million reported by Twitter in May 2022, before Musk’s takeover.
Why we care. Transitioning X to a paid platform could be good news for advertisers because it might mean they get a better-quality audience and fewer problems with bots. That could lead to more conversions and a higher ROI. But there’s a downside: some users might ditch X for free alternatives like Threads, which could shrink the platform’s user base and, in turn, reduce the reach of X advertisers.
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What has X said? Musk told Prime Minister, Netanyahu:
- “The single most important reason that we’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system is that it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.”
- “Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny, or a tenth of a penny, but if somebody even has to pay a few dollars or something, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high, and then you also have to get a new payment method every time you have a new bot.”
- “We’re actually going to come out with lower tier pricing. We want it to be just a small amount of money [and] in my view, this is actually the only defense against vast armies of bots.”
Deep dive. Read the X blog for more information about the platform’s latest updates.
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About the author
Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.