Twitter (now X) paid? What’s behind Elon Musk’s phrase

Twitter (now X) paid? What’s behind Elon Musk’s phrase
Twitter (now X) paid? What’s behind Elon Musk’s phrase

New York, September 19, 2023 – La X platform, i.e. the former Twitter, could become paid. Not just the accounts ‘with the blue check’, as is already the case now, but all accounts. It was said Elon Musk, who has been the owner of X since last October, speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We are moving towards a small monthly payment for using the system,” Musk said yesterday. According to the South African multibillionaire, who owns Tesla and SpaceX, as well as to avoid bots, automatic accounts that simulate human behavior, for example by relaunching tweets mechanically. Which often happens on X, and not for laudable purposes: many bots are used to artificially amplify political messages or fuel racial hatred.

It’s no coincidence that Musk talked about it in conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu: the Israeli prime minister had raised the very question ofonline antisemitism and how X could “prevent the use of bots – armies of bots – to reproduce and amplify it.” The conversation was rebroadcast live on X.

And so Musk responded that the company is “moving towards a small monthly payment for using System X.” “It is the only way that comes to mind for fighting vast armies of robots,” he said. Because a robot costs a fraction of a cent – let’s call it a cent – but if someone has to pay even a few dollars, a minimal amount, the actual cost of the robots is very high.” And then, he added “you also need to have a new payment method every time you have a new robot”.

Being Musk, it’s always difficult to understand whether his releases are impromptu ideas or they talk about projects that are ready for launch. The BBC, which contacted Musk’s company for further details, has not yet received a response. Since the entrepreneur took over Twitter last October for 44 billion dollars, he has contributed many changes to the structure and the company’s operations, not just the name change: it fired thousands of employees, removed moderation of comments and changed other functions.

The social network is still free for most users. With eight dollars a month, users can access an improved service, which is called X Premium. Paid subscribers have more functionality, as longer posts and greater visibility on the platform.

Making everything greatly reduce the number of users, which would in turn lead to a decline in advertising revenue, which currently represent the vast majority of the company’s revenues. Advertising is already in steep decline: Musk himself admitted in July that advertising revenue this year they halved. It is no coincidence that Musk himself has said several times that “X might fail.”

Learn more:

Apple may no longer advertise on X (the former Twitter)

In Musk’s intentions, X will not fail, indeed it will become increasingly central in daily life, transforming from an opinion social network to social services, how to do digital purchases or payments, along the lines of the Chinese WeChat. In this scenario, already having only registered users, with a ‘support’ payment system already defined, is certainly a good step forward.

There are several clues that point to a sensational hypothesis: the era of completely free social networks, as we have known them so far, could be coming to an end. Not just for the hypothesis of all paid X (not just premium accounts): at the beginning of September, the New York Times revealed that Half he would be studying a form of payment for European accounts on Facebook and Instagram. In this case, however, the need would not be to collect, but to avoid problems with European privacy legislation. In fact, paying users would be offered a social network without advertising.

Learn more:

Zuckerberg, European turning point. “Paid Facebook”

Zuckerberg, European turning point.

During the talks, however, Netanyahu raised a much broader problem: “I hope that you can find, within the confines of the First Amendment (which guarantees freedom of expression, ed.), the ability to stop not only antisemitismor to reduce it as best as possible, but also any form of collective hatred towards the people that anti-Semitism represents,” urged the Israeli prime minister. And he added: “I encourage you to find a balance. It’s a difficult thing.”

A topic on which Musk, however, thinks very independently, as he has demonstrated in these months of managing X: “Freedom of expression means that sometimes someone you don’t like is saying something you don’t like. If this is not there, then there is no freedom of expression,” he replied, while maintaining that he is personally against any form of anti-Semitism.

Musk’s thoughts on freedom of expression are certainly not news: since he has owned the former Twitter removed content moderation and restored previously banned accounts, including that of the former US president Donald Trump.

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