Putting X behind a paywall may be Musk’s worst idea so far

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It looks like Elon Musk is once again making big changes to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter (RIP). Musk will supposedly be introducing a subscription fee for all users of the site, not just those currently subscribed to Twitter Premium. 

DigitalTrends points out that what was once just a scary thought may actually come to fruition thanks to a Bloomberg report stating that X is currently testing three different subscription tier offers, with the highest-paying tier seeing the fewest ads. 

Other leaks suggest that the ‘basic’ tier will show the usual mix of ads, ‘standard’ tier will show half as many ads and the top ‘plus’ tier will be completely free of ads. Currently, the Premium tier available shows about half as many ads as a free account, so you can probably get an idea of what the ‘standard’ tier would be. 

As it stands we don’t have any information on the price for each tier, or if we’ll even see the new subscriptions in the near future. 

 Thanks, I hate it! 

I know you’ve probably seen plenty of headlines in the time Musk has been running the company that read along the lines of ‘Elon Musk is killing Twitter!’ (now X), but this is probably the first time I actually agree with the sentiment. Musk has made some baffling choices surrounding X in the short time he’s been in charge, but if the subscription tier does actually come about I really believe that will be the last straw. 

X has always been free, allowing it to build a reputation as one of the biggest and most important communication platforms on the internet. People use Twitter (sorry, X) for so many things, such as keeping up to date with local and international news, sending messages to friends and strangers,  and keeping up with politics or celebrity news. 

If Musk decides to put all this formerly free content behind a paywall for everyone I highly doubt the company will see a great deal of new subscribed users. Many of us are having to painfully let go of other subscriptions in our lives, (especially with Netflix and Disney Plus upping prices) and if I’m honest at this point I would be happier to dump Twitter before any of the other services I’m clinging on to. 

Why would I pay for a (in my opinion) mediocre social media platform when almost all of the most popular ones are free to use? 

I am however frightened of the fact that if we do see the feature pop up on X, it might tempt other sites to follow suit. Maybe it’s my age showing but I simply can’t imagine a world where I’d have to pay per month to use my X, Instagram or TikTok account. I may be chronically online, but I won’t be paying for that. 

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Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison.

Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place.

Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).