Elon Musk, the owner of the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), took control of the platform in October 2022. He has been actively working to boost revenue by launching two new premium subscription tiers. One of these tiers will provide all features at a more affordable price but won’t reduce the number of ads users see. The second tier, priced higher, will be ad-free.
Musk attributed the platform’s decline in revenue to pressure from activists but didn’t provide specific details about the new subscription plans. He also introduced a $8 per month subscription service called the “blue check” and offered advertising discounts to businesses in an effort to generate revenue. However, criticism of lax content moderation caused advertisers to be cautious about their ads appearing next to inappropriate content.
X initiated a recent test case by charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines $1 for platform access. Those who opted not to subscribe were restricted to “read only” actions, like reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts. This “Not A Bot” subscription method aims to combat spam, platform manipulation, and bot activity.
It’s worth noting that several major tech companies have experimented with a mix of ad-supported and subscription plans, similar to X. For example, YouTube offers both paid and free, ad-supported versions, and Netflix provides ad-supported plans at a lower price point. However, X, like YouTube, shares a portion of its subscription revenue with content creators, although it remains unclear whether content creators will be compensated in ad-free subscription models.
Additionally, the European Commission has recently launched an investigation into X to assess its compliance with new tech rules regarding illegal and harmful content, which comes in the wake of disinformation spread on the platform following an attack by Hamas on Israel.