Musk talks about a “small payment” for using X (Paris) “A small monthly payment” to use social network X? The umpteenth proposal on Monday by its owner, Elon Musk, aimed at reducing the number of robots on the platform, seems logical from an economic point of view, but could also “decimate” its user base, according to experts.
Yassine KHIRI Agence France-Presse
In an interview with Musk on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the issue of online anti-Semitism and how X could “prevent the use of robots – armies of robots – to reproduce and amplify it.”
Bots (accounts managed by computer programs rather than humans) are common on X, where they can be used to artificially amplify political messages or fan the flames of racial hatred.
Musk responded that the company was “moving toward a small monthly payment for using System X.”
“It’s the only way I can think of to fight huge armies of robots,” he said. “Because a robot costs a fraction of a cent – call it a tenth of a cent – but if someone has to pay even a few dollars, a smaller amount, the effective cost of robots is very high. »
A clue that made users of the social network jump, which already has “550 million monthly users” according to Musk. As of May 2022, Twitter reported having around 230 million daily active users.
“If he really does it, he will take down the site. The cost doesn’t matter. Most people won’t pay (…) It will kill the site and the advertising revenue in one fell swoop. It’s incredible,” Ed Zitron, head of a media relations company and columnist for Business Insider, reacted, for example, on the social network.
The tech mogul has made many changes since he took over the network for $44 billion in October last year when it was known as Twitter.
It laid off thousands of employees, introduced a paid option, removed content moderation, and reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump.
In July, it said the platform had lost about half of its advertising revenue.
The implementation of the “Blue” premium service, a subscription of between 8 and 11 dollars per month to enjoy certain privileges – such as having the blue mark to certify your profile, seeing fewer advertising, publishing tweets and longer videos, canceling or editing a tweet, etc. – also did not have the expected success.
According to data from Travis Brown, a software developer specializing in social networks, less than 5% of the 407,000 accounts that had the old free blue badge were subscribed.
“From the point of view of the economic model, we could say that it is a good option for Twitter” to charge its users because the company “has never managed to set up an efficient advertising system compared to other social platforms like Meta,” he said. James Cooper, director of the “Business of Apps” agency, told AFP.
“However, the value of Twitter lies in the network effect of having a large user base. “Universal service pricing would decimate the user base and therefore destroy the value of the network,” he warns.
“At this stage, the best solution would be to increase the value of your paid subscription services, improving your advertising offering and considering new revenue streams such as transactions, rather than forcing everyone to pay for the current service,” he added.
The conversation between MM. Musk and Netanyahu, which was broadcast on
Musk accused the ADL of making unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism that drove away advertisers and hurt his company’s revenue and threatened to sue it for billions of dollars.