X/Twitter May Start Charging Users. Will They Finally Revolt?

Elon Musk floated the idea of charging a "small monthly payment" to access the social media network

In this photo illustration, 'X' (formerly known as Twitter) Premium account of Elon Musk is displayed on a mobile phone screen in front of a computer screen displaying 'X' logo, in Ankara, Turkiye on September 19, 2023
Even using Twitter may soon require a monthly payment
Harun Ozalp/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

What is finally going to get people to get rid of X/Twitter? So far paid blue check marks, a disliked name change and security issues haven’t seemed to cause a mass exodus, nor has its owner’s erratic behavior. But a forced payment to use the service? That might be the “we’re out of here” moment for many users.

The idea of requiring a “small monthly payment” was floated by X owner Elon Musk during a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. Per TechCrunch, Musk suggested that doing so would weed out the bots.

“Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny — call it a tenth of a penny…but even if it has to pay…a few dollars or something, the effective cost of bots is very high,” said Musk.

Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Hide Their Blue Checks
Apparently spending $8 per month doesn’t hide you from ridicule

So, would people be willing to make a payment to utilize a service that’s free for most of its users? Musk estimates X has about 540 million “monthly users” but some reports suggest that only about 827,000+ of those have signed up for the paid X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue) service. He also didn’t offer any information about the amount of the upcoming payment plan or a timetable.

Like several of Musk’s ideas from the past, this one could very well never come to fruition. And Musk only broached the subject during a talk where he was essentially defending himself against claims of anti-Semitism after threatening to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League, which is an incredibly 2023 sentence.

Still, the idea behind most free online services, outside of social media, is to get people to upgrade to a paid plan at some point (while still harvesting their data). As well, X may have no choice. The decline of revenue at X is pretty much Musk’s fault. He claims there’s an advertiser boycott against the service and that ad revenues have declined 60% — which, again, seems to be a reaction against his leadership and management.

Will users pay for a formerly free service that gets seemingly worse every day … but lacks a real competitor? (Sorry, Threads.) We’ll probably find out sooner than later, around the time Musk comes up with another infuriating idea on how to alter the network.

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