Elon Musk continues to tinker with the $44B toy he purchased, which he renamed “X,” as he attempts to figure out how to change the revenue model for the social media company.
Last month, he hinted at the idea of moving the whole thing behind a paywall.
Now he is rolling out a trial in the Philippines and New Zealand where new users are charged $1 per year for access to the site’s key features, like the ability to post.
The trial called “Not A Bot” seeks to make it harder for bots to spam the platform by charging a nominal fee and verifying the user’s phone number.
Those who opt out will still be able to read posts – they just won’t be able to post from their accounts or interact with other people’s posts.
Musk and the X platform continue to generate negative press related to the enablement of disinformation through the platform.
The EU recently announced that it is investigating X under its new Digital Services Act for pro-Hamas-related posts on the platform.
X responded that hundreds of such posts had already been deleted.
However, the company continues to struggle with Musk’s removal of safeguards against misinformation and accusations that the platform does little to police itself.
All of this has led X’s ad revenue to plummet from a high in Q4 of 2021 of $1.56B to a six-year low in Q3 of 2023 of $593M.
Maybe Musk and the team are onto something with the new trial which seeks to stamp out bots while raising revenue.
This two-for-one idea will likely be coming to the US sooner rather than later.