Popular micro-blogging platform Twitter, now rebranded as ‘X’, has now brought out a new subscription model under which the social media platform would charge USD 1 annual user fee for basic features, in order to combat ‘bots’ and ‘spammers’.
The fee, which will vary from country to country based on the exchange rate, will be first made available for users in New Zealand and the Philippines.
While the existing users are not going to be affected by this policy change, new platform visitors not wishing to subscribe to ‘X’ will only be able to view and read posts, apart from watching videos and following accounts.
In fact, this new subscription model comes after the July 2023 move, where the X chief Elon Musk introduced a limit on viewing tweets, “to ensure the authenticity of its user base”.
As per Reuters, X CEO Linda Yaccarino met with the micro-blogging platform’s investors and lenders at the beginning of October 2023, where she talked about the company testing three tiers of its subscription service based on the number of ads shown to the user.
According to data from market intelligence firm Similarweb, X’s global website traffic went down 14% year-over-year in September 2023; with the United States traffic showing a 19% dip. On American smartphones, traffic performance went down by 17.8%, based on monthly active users on iOS and Android.
Other major markets like the United Kingdom (-11.6%), France (-13.4%), Germany (-17.9%) and Australia (-17.5%) also saw declines in X’s web traffic.
When comparing the first nine months of 2023 with the same period in 2022, Simiarweb found X’s website traffic was down 11.6% in the United States and down by 7% worldwide. Mobile app usage in the US too was down by 12.8% during that same period of time.
According to The Information, X revised its daily active user count to 245 million daily active users, pretty much consistent with X CEO Linda Yaccarinno’s claim of the micro-blogging platform having “200 to 250 million daily active users”.
However, a Mashable report decoded the official’s data further and found out that X was losing millions or around 3.7% of daily active users since Mr Elon Musk’s acquisition. The report further claimed that the daily active user tally has been following a downward spiral after Elon Musk took over the platform. Twitter had 259.4 million daily active users in mid-November 2022, and after being rebranded as ‘X’, it has lost nearly 15 million users, a drop of roughly 5.6%.
Linda Yaccarino also informed the media about X having 50,000 communities, with engagement numbers going up since June 2023. She also added the fact that the micro-blogging platform would be profitable in 2024.
“Now that I have immersed myself in the business, and we have a good set of eyes on what is predictable, what’s coming is that it looks like in early ’24, we will be turning a profit,” she said during the Vox Media’s Code Conference 2023.
She also claimed, “90% of the top 100 advertisers have returned to the platform in the last 12 weeks alone.”
The Mashable report also showed that X’s traffic and user declines were part of a broader shift of the overall web traffic to the top 100 social networks and online communities going down by 3.7% in September 2023. Only TikTok defied the trend by registering a 22.8% global growth.
Similarweb’s analysis also showed the declining importance of X in the news ecosystem, noting that some three years ago, The New York Times would receive 3-4% of its traffic from Twitter, but that ratio has gone down now to less than 1%. Also, X began throttling links to the Times in August 2023, along with other competitors like Bluesky and Threads. In October 2023, X was accused of throttling Patreon links as well.