January 31, 2023

After buying out Twitter for a whopping $44 billion, Elon Musk is looking for new ways to make money off the company. He has already increased the monthly subscription fee for Twitter Blue by 60 percent. The new CEO has also laid off or is in the process to lay off thousands of employees to cut operational costs. But the biggest change of all could be putting the entire social network behind a paywall, charging users for access to it. As much as it seems unlikely, Musk reportedly did discuss this move with his adviser David Sacks.

According to a Platformer report, Musk and Sacks talked about putting Twitter behind a paywall in recent meetings. They haven’t come up with any plans yet. But one of the ideas explored was to offer a limited-time free access every month and start charging thereafter. It’s unclear if Musk is serious about this move or if it was just a discussion on a light note. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO does need more money streams from Twitter given the company’s huge debt burden, though a putting paywall likely won’t be the best idea.

Twitter may still lose money from the Blue subscription service

As mentioned earlier, Twitter has increased the price of the Blue subscription service by 60 percent, from $5 a month to $8 a month. But the company may still lose money off it because of Musk’s erratic announcements without considering the implications. The new CEO has announced that Blue subscribers will see 50 percent lesser ads on the platform. That would reportedly mean a loss of about $6 in ad revenue per user per month in the US. Factoring in Apple and Google’s in-app payment charges, the $8 monthly subscription may not be enough for Twitter to make money.

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Worse yet, more Twitter users are likely to purchase the Blue subscription as it now offers the verification checkmark as a complementary perk. This means the company will lose money off more users than before. Meanwhile, Musk continues to make erratic public announcements. The rollout of the revamped Twitter Blue itself was rushed. The service wasn’t even ready and the CEO publicly announced it. Users got the same old Twitter Blue with no additional benefits. The company has now pushed back the rollout to Wednesday. It also no longer plans to charge existing verified accounts for the checkmark.

Another change that Musk announced on Twitter without much thought about it is how he plans to permanently suspend accounts that impersonate others without specifying “parody” in their handles. The policy team was reportedly unaware of this proposed change and came to know about it after the CEO’s tweet. Employees are now discussing how to implement it.

Amid all this chaos, Twitter usage is at an all-time high. The platform’s mDAU (monetizable daily active user) growth rate has reportedly reached more than 20 percent since Musk’s takeover. However, the company isn’t benefitting much from it. Advertisers have paused or reduced their spending on Twitter in the Musk era. All this indicates that Twitter will never be the same under the new ownership but we will have to wait and see if things change for the better or worse.