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Upgraded Elements of 𝕏: Introducing a Tiered Structure, 'The Everything Finance App,' Social Credit Ratings, and Cryptocurrency Rewards for Content Creators
Will the alterations made to the platform formerly recognized as Twitter result in profitability for both its owner, billionaire Elon Musk, and the content creators?
After purchasing Twitter on October 27, 2022, for $44 billion, business mogul Elon Musk quickly cleaned house, firing 80% of Twitter’s employees in April 2023. Musk also began changing different elements of the social media platform. This included simple design changes at first, with new features being added incrementally, and eventually rebranding at the end of July to what is now known simply as 𝕏.
Several new features were introduced, allowing users to publish posts exceeding Twitter's original 280-character limit, extend video upload durations, edit posts, and more. Access to these enhancements required a Premium subscription. This subscription also granted users the privilege of collecting ad revenue. Eligibility criteria for this program included having a minimum of 500 followers, being subscribed to the Premium plan or being a Verified Organization, and accumulating no fewer than 5 million organic impressions across their posts within the last three months.
The platform has just introduced its latest updates this week, featuring the new functionality for audio and video calls. Additionally, users can now access subscription tiers, which promise increased engagement, reduced bot interactions on their posts, and a decrease in ads within their "For You" and "Following" feeds.
BASIC vs PREMIUM vs PREMIUM+ TIER SYSTEM
The list provided in the Help Center on 𝕏 suggests that Premium subscribers can "experience enhanced reply benefits," although it appears that this enhancement is selective, as numerous Premium subscribers have voiced their dissatisfaction over feeling more restricted on the platform in recent weeks.
Subscribers to the Premium+ tier allegedly will see many new benefits, such as sharing in ad revenue, access to creator subscriptions, reduced ads in the “For You” and “Following” timelines, and additional perks.
The majority of the features mentioned in this list are already accessible to Premium subscribers, so there isn't a compelling reason to pay twice the current Premium rate. The notion of increased engagement has failed to materialize, leaving subscribers disappointed as they report experiencing reduced engagement compared to the pre-Elon era.
The big selling point for Premium+ appears to be the “largest reply boost”. With the Premium tier, you are alleged to receive a “larger reply boost” and with the Basic tier, “small reply boost.”
The Basic tier is $3/mo, whereas Premium+ is $16/mo. Annual rates are $32 for Basic and $138 for Premium+.
Having been a Premium subscriber for several months and having a monetized account to generate ad revenue, I can confirm that I have not experienced the expected "reply boost." In fact, my posts are receiving fewer views than ever, and I am only averaging $13, which is the minimum required for ad revenue payouts during each pay period.
This problem isn't isolated to a few individuals on the platform; numerous accounts have been consistently reporting their content being concealed from users. This has led to a significant decline in view counts, often plummeting to less than 1% of their follower base, and this issue has persisted for several weeks.
Film producer Daniel Bostic, who currently has 63.6k followers said Thursday, “My engagement on Twitter has dropped from hundreds of likes per tweet to an average of three. This platform is broken. Average engagement of .005% isn’t normal even if my tweets suck which they do not.”
Replying to 𝕏’s celebratory post marking one year since Elon bought the platform, the account Chicks On The Right said, “How about just delivering the service you claim to offer premium subscribers.”
Chicks On The Right included a screenshot of an earlier post they’d shared showing the email response from 𝕏 Premium Support inquiring about why their account was not showing up in searches.
“Wow. So this is the ‘response’ I got from @support about our account not appearing for people (even our own followers) in searches. This answers nothing, doesn’t offer any specific information about what caused the restriction, when it occurred, when the restriction will be lifted - NOTHING. This is Zuckerberg level nonsense, @elonmusk. What is the point of paying for premium service?”
I inquired with Premium subscribers about their post-program engagement, and the majority reported a significant decrease in engagement levels. They mentioned persistent issues with bots and a substantial drop in average viewership following an initial increase.
𝕏 account GrimsMemes replied saying both of his Premium accounts have tanked with impressions going from over a million impressions each week to under 100,000. “Media posts get under 100 impressions most days Blue checks don’t improve visibility.”
mrcTV Managing Editor and host of 'The Brittany Hughes Show' and 'Reality Check.' Podcasts, Brittany Hughes responded to my inquiry by saying, “Followers have continually dropped, engagement is sporadic at best.”
Other users mention “persistent throttling” and an overwhelming amount of “sexbots” seemingly swarming their posts. I have personally encountered bot issues, experiencing occasional occurrences in comments while also witnessing instances where they responded within just 2 seconds of my post.
This week, the same incident occurred three consecutive times, involving three distinct accounts that shared links to OnlyFans profiles. To address the situation, I duplicated my initial post and reposted it thrice while also blocking each automated account separately.
OTHER FEATURES OFFERED THIS WEEK MOVING CLOSER TO MUSK’S '“EVERYTHING APP”
Another new feature that rolled out on the platform this week was an early version of video and audio calling. The Community Notes tacked on to Elon’s announcement on Wednesday show users adding that the audio/video calling option is only available on iOS and is on by default. Although the new feature didn't impress a significant number of platform users, it does demonstrate Musk's steady progress toward realizing the complete experience he has long envisioned for the platform.
In a post from October of last year, Musk stated, “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app”. This “app of everything” would include being able to make purchases, order food and other services, and handle financial transactions. The founder of SpaceX wants the social media platform formerly known as Twitter to be a “digital marketplace.”
Firstpost reported back in August of 2022, “X.Com was Musk’s first venture before he got involved with PayPal. The business that X.com was associated with got merged with PayPal and was later sold to eBay in 2002.”
Musk has envisioned a “marketplace of everything” for decades now, and with the latest 𝕏 team meeting, it seems that may soon become a reality. The official URL for the website was purchased from GoDaddy.com on April 2nd, 1993.
According to The Verge, who obtained audio of the 45-minute team call, Musk was heard saying, “When I say payments, I actually mean someone’s entire financial life. If it involves money. It’ll be on our platform. Money or securities or whatever. So, it’s not just like send $20 to my friend. I’m talking about, like, you won’t need a bank account,” with Musk adding, “It would blow my mind if we don’t have that rolled out by the end of next year.”
BANKING VIA 𝕏 & SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE CONCERNS
Elon Musk’s plans to make 𝕏 a one-stop-shop for everything, including finances, brings up several troubling issues. Many users are seeing this new implementation of banking on the platform as dangerous. With a user’s posts, many of which simply express their opinions at any given moment on random subjects and current events being auto-linked to a bank account essentially creates a credit rating system where users may lose access to their money because they are posting while using wrong speak.
If something that a user posts is found to be unacceptable by the algorithm, or perhaps eventually by human reviewers, therein lies the potential to see funds frozen, or the user no longer having access to their bank accounts for a “to be determined” amount of time due to censorship.
Sovereign Bruh on 𝕏 expanded on this line of thought saying:
“I see a dangerous centralization of power here. Having our speech, political opinions, and bank accounts concentrated within a single app is extremely sketchy in today’s political climate. Especially considering the fact that 𝕏’s new CEO @lindayaX is a full-blown globalist who’s worked for the WEF. With CBDCs, digital IDs, and a second pandemic coming on the horizon, this begs a few questions: Will users be required to use 𝕏 in the furture? Will 𝕏 be forced to comply with CBDCs? Will governments be able to pressure 𝕏 into shutting down the bank accounts of political dissidents?”
“Let’s say you question election results in the future, refuse more mandatory vaccines in an upcoming pandemic, or question public health measures. What if the government wants your bank account shut down? Will these opinions be tied to your digital ID and a CBDC? How will Elon Musk resist these pressures, while preserving our speech, anonymity, and freedoms? These probably aren’t easy questions to answer - he’s facing a ton of pressure from governments around the world as it is, right now. But if we’re going to trust this platform with our money, these questions need to be answered. If these questions can be answered well, and our speech, anonymity, and freedoms can be preserved in the process, I can see a lot of good coming from this. There are a ton of creators doing great work on this platform, increasing their abilility to make money while bringing the world great content would be a major net-positive for everyone here.”
In addition to the idea of doing all your banking on the platform, whispers of “turning 𝕏 into a crypto wallet” are now popping up. 𝕏 user NFT God said in a post on Saturday, “Elon is turning 𝕏 into a crypto wallet. In the next 12 months 400 million new people will be onboarded onto Web 3 Post good content = earn crypto If you never used crypto before, would this make you more open to using the technology? Would you still view the tech as a scam?”
Some aspects of the platform are dedicated to enhancing the content posted on the website, such as refining column design, introducing live streaming and Spaces, and deciding whether to display the view count in full numbers or just three digits. However, other components of 𝕏 are rapidly revolutionizing the way SOME users interact with the site as a whole.
If you use the platform and are interested in moving up or down a tier, the platform suggests you wait until they have launched the full program so you can easily switch with one click. Presently, you must cancel your current subscription and then buy into the new tier.
On Sunday, Musk replied directly to the satire account U.S. Ministry of Truth noting that the open-source code showing accounts that have been delisted and throttled is still not available. Musk stated:
“That has already begun and should be fully transparent by end of year. There are so many hidden layers to the system, some of which we are still discovering. Most of the reach reduction is suboptimal code, rather than malice.”
Earlier this year, Musk said in a post: “Twitter will publish tweet recommendation code & make account/tweet status visible no later than next month. Transparency builds trust.”
Subscribers to Premium are still waiting to see what code has been added to their specific accounts which are stifling engagement. Without knowledge of what is affecting their accounts negatively, subscribers are becoming increasingly frustrated with not reaching their followers.
𝕏 could start by asking subscribers what issues they’re having with their accounts. Prioritizing feedback from paying customers demonstrates a commitment to delivering features that align with their needs and desires, rather than introducing unwanted or unrequested features. This approach involves actively listening to those investing in features that enhance their platform experience and contribute to revenue generation.
Users report that they are not only failing to witness an increase in engagement and post views, but they are also encountering difficulties in reaching their followers to share their content. In some cases, their accounts do not appear in search results, even for those who follow them, making it challenging for users to access the content they provide.
It remains uncertain whether Premium+ will deliver superior results for users compared to their current experiences as paying customers of Premium. Time will tell.