By: Nick Gambino
Another week, another big change to Twitter X (that’s what I’m calling it from now on so I don’t have to keep reminding you it’s no longer called “Twitter”). Elon Musk has suggested he might have to start charging users for access to the social media platform.
This is not just for those who choose to subscribe to Blue. No, this is for anyone who wants to use Twitter X. Now, unlike how certain media outlets are reporting it, the CEO didn’t say he was definitely making this bold move. And actually he seemed to clarify later that he was talking about a lower-tier payment for Blue subscribers. But let’s suppose that he did say, or even originally mean, charging everyone.
It came out during a sit down with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel. During the conversation Musk mentioned that they may start charging a small monthly payment because “It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.”
He continued to explain the idea behind the big change. “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.”
It’s hard to disagree with this logic, but it’s clear this would also drive a huge swath of subscribers away from Twitter X. Social media platforms have always been free and we’re just used to it. How many would truly pay for a Facebook account or an Instagram account? Now take a less popular platform like Twitter X. And what does that say for new subscribers?
“Given the recent changes that Musk has implemented at X, it’s no surprise that he’s continued down the paywall route,” says Andrew Tropeano, Host of News Around America (www.newsaroundamerica.com). “The biggest wrinkle for this potential change will be that they’ve had trouble attracting users to the current premium paid service. I’m not sure there’s an appetite for a paid X.”
And that’s the point. Sustaining profitability is all about growth and if you drive away your users and build a wall that new potential users have to climb, you’re digging your own grave. And that’s where Twitter X is most likely headed if they decided to charge all users – the graveyard of failed social media platforms.