X, formerly Twitter, launched two new subscriptions on Friday, exactly one year after Elon Musk bought the social network (for $44 billion), now in financial difficulty. Users can now choose between three plans: Basic, Premium (formerly “Blue”) and Premium , at $3, $8 and $16 per month, respectively.
In addition to the benefits included in the Premium plan, Premium subscribers will benefit from the best exposure for their messages (more chance of being read and generating reactions) and will no longer see advertisements. As for the cheapest option, it includes basic editing tools (ability to correct a message or publish longer videos, among others), and two-factor authentication, but not access to tools for creators (which allow you to be paid) nor the certification of the account with the famous blue checkmark.
The Blue subscription, launched chaotically in the months following the takeover of the company by the boss of Tesla, was intended to serve to diversify sources of income and democratize the user certification system. The blue check mark, which was previously free but reserved for authenticated and well-known accounts, has thus become paid but open to all.
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Between this method and the sharp reduction in content moderation, the platform has become more confusing, with many supposedly certified fake accounts spreading false information or rumors. Many advertisers have deserted X. Its value has fallen to $20 billion and advertising revenue has fallen by half, according to Elon Musk. And the network could become a fee for everyone: in New Zealand and the Philippines, new users already have to pay a dollar each year to be able to post messages.
The idea is to deter the registrations of “robots”, these automated accounts which can be used to artificially amplify political messages, for example. The billionaire hopes to transform the platform into a universal application, based on the model of WeChat in China, which serves both as a messaging service and as an online payment service. He began testing adding a tool to make audio and video calls directly from X. On Friday he wrote “Freedom,” on his profile, reposting his message from a year ago after the acquisition: “The bird is released,” in reference to the now-extinct blue bird of Twitter.