Elon Musk, with an ever more obscure strategy, tries a paid subscription again

Elon Musk, with an ever more obscure strategy, tries a paid subscription again

The company gradually unveiled the outlines on Monday as the day progressed, explaining on its site that the subscription would initially be available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. UK, compared to $8 per month, or $11 for Apple device owners.

But around 6 p.m. GMT, it did not yet seem possible to subscribe to it. Main interest for people agreeing to pay money: a tick supposed to certify the identity of the subscriber, blue for individuals, gold for companies, gray for institutions.

To be granted this authentication, users must have had an account for at least 90 days associated with a verified phone number that does not appear “misleading or deceptive”.

They must also have been active at least once in the previous month and not have changed their profile picture or their name on Twitter during the previous week. Users who already have a check mark can, a priori, keep it without paying, according to the details of the conditions of use published by Twitter.

The first attempt to launch a new subscription formula, at the beginning of November, was accompanied by an outbreak of accounts posing as those of celebrities or large companies and contradictory messages. The project was then suspended, then postponed several times.

Dark strategy

This initiative should allow Twitter to diversify its turnover beyond advertisements. Revenue from the latter has indeed fallen in recent months with the economic downturn, while many advertisers have been scalded by the takeover of the platform by Elon Musk, fearing to find their ads with controversial content.

The new boss, who presents himself as a defender of freedom of expression and regularly claims that Twitter had previously shown a bias in favor of left-wing ideas, has indeed significantly reduced the staff responsible for moderation and authorized the return to the platform of suspended personalities, like Donald Trump.

He himself published a series of controversial messages this weekend, attacking in turn the outgoing White House adviser on the pandemic Anthony Fauci, the former security officer of Twitter Yoel Roth or even the pronouns not gendered.

The multi-billionaire is also trying to attract attention by promoting for ten days what he calls the “Twitter files”, internal documents supposed to illustrate questionable moderation practices. “I don’t understand what he’s trying to do” with these sweeping statements, reacted Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies. Maybe it’s a tactic to attract more people and thus sell more subscriptions, she suggests.

But his strategy remains obscure, says the specialist. Elon Musk “wants to be seen as the one who saves democracy, but can he really do it with anti-vaccines” or conspiracy theorists? she wonders. Invited to a show stage in San Francisco by comedian Dave Chappelle on Sunday, the world’s richest man was greeted with a mix of applause and hearty boos.