October 4, 2023

Elon Musk may flip the switch to make X — the social network formerly known as Twitter — an entirely subscription-based platform.

Musk brought up the idea of charging all users of X/Twitter during a wide-ranging conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. “[We’re] moving to a small monthly payment for use of the X system,” Musk told Netanyahu, claiming that it is the only way to eliminate the problem of bots, as reported by Bloomberg’s Dave Lee.

Musk has previously mulled the idea of putting Twitter entirely behind a paywall in internal conversations, according to industry news site Platformer.

Currently, X’s subscription program — formerly Twitter Blue, now called X Blue, under Musk’s rebranding effort — is priced starting at $8 per month.

One of the chief benefits of X Blue is getting verified check-mark status, although this summer the company added the ability for subscribers to hide the check-mark from public view.

X Blue’s other benefits include the ability to edit a post within a one-hour window; a 50% reduction in ads; “prioritized rankings” of a user’s posts in conversations and search; the ability to post up to 25,000 characters (vs. the 280-character limit); and the ability to upload videos up to 3 hours long or up to 8 gigabytes in size. Blue subscribers also are eligible to receive a share of advertising revenue, initially based on ads displayed in replies to their posts.

In October 2022, After Musk begrudgingly closed the debt-laden $44 billion deal for Twitter, he fired Twitter’s senior management team — and installed himself as CEO. Musk then oversaw mass layoffs at Twitter, cutting an estimated 80% of the company’s workforce.

Earlier this year, Musk hired ex-NBCUniversal sales boss Linda Yaccarino as CEO. Since joining the company in June, she has hired a group of new sales execs. But Musk ultimately remains in control of X/Twitter (e.g., in July he renamed the company after his favorite letter of the alphabet) and has said he will continue to run the company’s product and technology teams.

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