Elon Musk has stated in an interview that he is considering putting up a paywall for all X users. It could be a good idea.
Social networks have reconfigured the entertainment and news landscape Worldwide. Each country has its own favorite applications, but giants like TikTok, Instagram or
What began as a way to stay in touch with friends and family soon turned into a way to keep up to date with what many strangers were doing, something promoted by the companies themselves. The algorithms soon learned that posting content that incited anger was much more profitable than content that gave positive sensations.
Added to this is the popularization of networks, which makes Scammers use them massively to try to get money from their victims., using social networks as platforms. It is something that already happened with Email, and Bill Gates proposed a solution: charge for each email.
This, which may sound surreal, made some sense. The tycoon’s intention was to make the emails cost a tiny amount of money, let’s say 0.1 cents for each one. In this way, a normal person could pay perhaps 4 or 5 cents at the end of the month, but an industry designed to send SPAM would be unviablebecause he would need huge amounts of money to send the millions of emails necessary to capture his victims.
This is where Elon Musk comes into play, who in recent hours has made some quite controversial statements. The South African tycoon has hinted that it would be an option to make everyone have to pay for the use of X to minimize the impact of bots. This statement was made in a conversation about AI with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister. The basis of his theory is the same as that of Bill Gates. The spammers Multiple accounts could not be opened if each requires a different payment methodor your own identification.
At the moment there is no more news about how such a system could be implemented or if it would be something really viable, on a social and economic level for the company. There are risks, such as X ceasing to be the reference for journalists and communicators and another application takes over. This could perhaps be avoided by allowing the reading of the publications to be free and only the publication of them to be free of charge. In fact, the vast majority of Twitter users only read, never write.
Going from an advertising-based model to a paid one can be a difficult but successful bet if the company manages to ensure that, along the way, the application stops being a polarizer of opinions and actually provides real net value to all its users. Getting angry for reading something is not the same as literally getting angry and knowing that you are paying for it, no matter how little.
One of the most important keys to this future movement is what Musk has called “a small amount.” Elon knows that the vast majority of X users are not going to pay for a version of X Premium similar to the one that already exists, because if that were the case they would already be paying. So creating a much lower payment barrier could be an option.
The businessman made it clear that it would be a small amount, but he has not said if for him that would be, for example, 0.99 euros per month or 6.99 euros. The first could be something reasonable for the most intensive users of the platform, those who consume more content and generate certain interactions. The second would be a barrier that is too similar to what already exists and would undoubtedly scare away a large critical mass that could ruin the company itself. Obviously the move to move all users from a free platform to a mandatory, non-optional payment platform would cause a huge stir, which could be positive for the company, but could also destroy it.
Assuming that Musk chose to implement a payment system closer to 0.99 euros per month than what X Premium represents today (9.68 euros per month), It would be necessary to see what percentage of the users who usually publish would decide to pay. This is important. More than 80% of current users simply read, so it’s understandable to assume they won’t pay.
From the rest of the users It would be necessary to see if, in addition to the bots, those that tend to be more controversial or problematic are eliminated or if, on the contrary, they remain on the platform, which would make many others decide not to pay to use it. Too many doubts to know, a priori, what will happen to this social network.
What seems clear is that Elon Musk sees a future in which maintaining the platform with advertising is not an option. It is something that is being seen in all types of companies and services, which leave aside free functions to request a monthly fee. The Internet is constantly changing but this big change could be one of the biggest turning points of its history.