The idea of making X paid for was born recently , during a conversation between Elon Musk and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Musk, the owner of X (formerly Twitter) since last October, has launched this idea that could revolutionize the landscape of social networks. The proposal is to make the entire platform payable, not just the verified accounts with the blue check. This proposal has generated intense debate about its feasibility and the consequences it could entail.
Elon Musk's proposal for paid X
One of the main reasons cited by Elon Musk for the possible introduction of a monthly payment for using X is the need to fight bots. Bots are automated accounts that mimic human behavior, often used to artificially amplify political messages or spread racial hatred on the platform . Musk argues that making access to the platform a fee may be the only effective way to combat these bots.
According to Musk, the actual cost for bots is extremely low, with an estimated cost of a fraction of a cent. However, if even a small amount, such as a few dollars per month, were required for access, the overall cost to bot operators would become prohibitive. Additionally, implementing a new payment method every time you create a new bot could make this task much more complicated and expensive.
The implications for users
If X became paid for all users, this would inevitably have significant implications for the online community. Currently, the social network is accessible for free for most users, with a premium service called X Premium available for eight dollars a month . This service offers additional features such as longer posts and greater visibility on the platform. The proposal to make the entire social network paid could lead to a reduction in the number of users, since not everyone may be willing to pay for access. This could lead to a decrease in advertising revenue, which is currently the main source of income for X. Elon Musk has admitted that advertising revenue is already dropping dramatically, and this move could make the situation even worse.
The proposal to make access to X paid may not be an isolated case in the social network landscape. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is currently studying a form of payment for European users on these platforms. In this case, the goal would not primarily be to increase profits, but rather to avoid problems related to European privacy legislation . Paying users could enjoy an ad-free experience, which could be seen as a privacy benefit, but also raises questions about the segregation of users based on their ability to pay.
What will be the future of X?
Elon Musk's proposal raises important questions about the future of X. The entrepreneur expressed his belief that this move is necessary to fight bots and improve the quality of the platform. But questions remain about its feasibility and long-term consequences. It is important to note that the platform has already undergone several significant changes under Musk's management. These include the removal of content moderation and the firing of thousands of employees. His vision seems aimed at transforming X from a social network of opinion to a social network of services, such as shopping or making digital payments, following the example of platforms such as WeChat in China.
Elon Musk's proposal could be a sign of a broader trend in the world of social networks. In recent times, we are seeing a growing discussion about the sustainability of completely free social network models. While free access has made these services accessible to millions of users around the world, it has also created problems such as the spread of misinformation, online hatred and abuse. The introduction of a monthly payment could be seen as an attempt to address these issues.