Monday, 2 October 2023

Business News

Elon Musk to charge all Twitter users a monthly fee

Elon Musk to charge all Twitter users a monthly fee

Right after he offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion last April, Elon Musk tweeted triumphantly “we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!”

Almost a year into owning what he has renamed X, Musk by his own admission still hasn’t succeeded.

So now he has a new plan to eliminate the scourge—enlisting every X user’s help by demanding they pay him a small fee for a place in his town square. 

“We’re actually going to come out with a lower tier pricing—we want it to just be a small amount of money… This is actually the only defense against vast armies of bots,” Musk said on Monday during a conversation with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the Israeli leader had asked Musk how he could stop “armies of bots” from amplifying hate speech on X.

Ripped right out of Tencent’s WeChat playbook

Charging every user would offer X a much-needed infusion of fresh revenue for the financially troubled company that continues to burn through its cash reserves even after shedding roughly 80% of its workforce. 

More importantly, however, handing Musk the details to one’s credit or debit account will attract merchants to the platform looking to sell their goods and services directly to the Tesla CEO’s customers. 

The move is taken straight out of the playbook of WeChat—the Tencent-owned messaging app that now dominates Chinese daily life.

It only became a super app after it began collecting payment details in January 2014 as part of a new offer to virtually send the red “Hongbao” envelopes of cash customary for Chinese New Year. 

“The real objective behind this nationwide carnival was to make WeChat users link their apps to their bank accounts—a prerequisite to both sending and receiving the ‘virtual red package’—and thus substantially strengthen Tencent’s ability to charge WeChat users in the future,” business professor Xiaoming Yang wrote in the Asian Case Research Journal, along with two other colleagues. 

After only a few years, half of the country’s population are believed to have regularly used mobile payments thanks to the idea, and today it’s impossible to imagine a China without WeChat. 

Musk has often said he…

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