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Premium memberships will be available shortly on X

Premium memberships will be available shortly on X

Elon Musk said on Friday that social media network X, formerly known as Twitter, will shortly debut two additional tiers of premium memberships. “One is lower cost with all features, but no reduction in ads, and the other is more expensive, but has no ads,” Musk stated in an X.com article. Musk, who took over the platform in October 2022, has been seeking to increase income by charging users and enticing back advertisers, who stopped buying advertisements after Musk dismissed most staff and destroyed content moderation teams.

Musk has acknowledged that the platform’s income has suffered as a result of activist pressure on advertisers. While he did not elaborate on the subscription options, a test case by X earlier this week highlighted many constraints for customers who do not wish to pay for the service.

As a test case for access to the platform, X began charging new customers $1 in New Zealand and the Philippines. According to the company’s website, new users who choose not to subscribe will only be allowed to perform “read-only” operations such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts. The platform’s “Not A Bot” subscription approach tries to eliminate spam, platform manipulation, and bot activity.

Other major internet businesses have also experimented with a hybrid of ad-supported and subscription models. While Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube offers both paid and free ad-supported plans, Netflix’s (NFLX.O) ad-supported options are also charged, albeit at a lower price.

YouTube, which, like X, is populated with user-generated material, splits a portion of its subscription income with producers. X, which also splits part of its ad revenue with content producers, did not specify if content creators will be compensated under ad-free subscription models.

To generate money, Musk began charging $8 per month for the Blue Tick membership service and gave discounts to businesses that advertised on the site.

However, because the website has received criticism for insufficient content control, advertisers did not want their advertising to show next to questionable content. Following the spread of disinformation on its platform following Hamas’ attack on Israel, the European Commission began an inquiry against X last week to examine if it conforms to new digital laws on unlawful and harmful material.

Musk, who took over the platform in October 2022, has been seeking to increase income by charging users and enticing back advertisers, who stopped buying advertisements after Musk dismissed most staff and destroyed content moderation teams.

Musk has acknowledged that the platform’s income has suffered as a result of activist pressure on advertisers. While he did not elaborate on the subscription options, a test case by X earlier this week highlighted many constraints for customers who do not wish to pay for the service.

As a test case for access to the platform, X began charging new customers $1 in New Zealand and the Philippines.

According to the company’s website, new users who choose not to subscribe will only be allowed to perform “read-only” operations such as reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts. Other major internet businesses have also experimented with a hybrid of ad-supported and subscription models. While Alphabet’s YouTube has both paid and free ad-supported plans, Netflix’s ad-supported options are also charged, albeit at a lower price.

YouTube, which, like X, is populated with user-generated material, splits a portion of its subscription income with producers. X, which also splits part of its ad revenue with content producers, did not specify if content creators will be compensated under ad-free subscription models.

According to a source close to the firm, Musk is growing more dissatisfied with the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA). The regulation, which took effect in late August, classifies large technology businesses with millions of users, such as Meta, Google, and X, as Very Large Online Platforms. Companies with this accreditation are legally liable for the content that users upload on their platforms, according to the legislation. Some of the material categories that contravene the law are disinformation and privacy infringement, as well as damaging and unlawful posts.

According to Apptopia, Europe accounts for 9% of X’s global monthly active user population. However, as Insider points out, everyday usage of X has declined dramatically in recent months – not only in the EU but globally as well.

Since his takeover, several users have criticised Musk’s management of content control on the network. However, the massive quantity of misinformation propagating on the internet after the Hamas attack in Israel has elevated the matter to a new level. On the weekend of the assaults, Musk, for example, supported two accounts with over 150 million followers that routinely distribute false news.

Last Monday, EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton warned X about the possibility of a DSA probe owing to X’s inability to control material. Musk responded by challenging Breton to offer examples publicly on the X platform. X CEO Linda Yaccarino addressed the problem more seriously, replying with a letter summarising X’s activities since Oct.

But it appears that Yaccarino’s letter, which mostly placed the burden of content monitoring on X users via the Community Notes crowdsourced fact-checking function, did not persuade EU regulators. The EU officially sought information from X late last week as part of an official probe, the first under the DSA.

If Musk’s firm is found to be in violation of the DSA, the EU can levy a punishment of up to 6% of X’s global sales. If X is forced to leave the EU, the platform’s traffic and user base would undoubtedly suffer. However, this would not be Musk’s first action that would have a detrimental impact on the platform’s growth. Earlier this week, X announced the commencement of a trial in New Zealand and the Philippines that will charge new users an annual $1 fee for publishing or interacting with material.

On Saturday, when word spread of Hamas’s extensive strikes on Israel, X was swiftly put to the test. While Musk formally purchased the network then known as Twitter about a year ago, a world-changing global event of this magnitude had yet to occur under his ownership. Twitter has long been renowned as a source of up-to-the-minute news. It’s for this reason that the platform has historically been popular with journalists and the media – two groups Musk has been quite antagonistic to since taking control.

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