In the ever-evolving landscape of social media platforms, X is making strides to bolster its revenue potential and tackle the persistent issue of bots and spam within its app. Recent reports from TechCrunch suggest that X’s soon-to-be-released audio and video calling features, seamlessly integrated into X’s Direct Messages (DMs), will be reserved for X Premium subscribers, implying a shift towards a subscription-based model for these communication options.
The move isn’t surprising, considering X’s concerted effort over the past year to incentivize users to opt for paid subscriptions. During a recent Client Council meeting, X hinted at the introduction of audio and video calling features, providing a glimpse of what’s to come. However, whether these features will be accessible to all users or limited to paying subscribers remains officially unconfirmed.
Scrutiny of the app’s backend code has shed light on the potential exclusivity of these communication features to premium subscribers, as certain lines explicitly denote “audio and video calls as premium features.” These lines are tied to error messages that non-subscribers might encounter when attempting to utilize the calling options within the app.
X’s visionary and owner, Elon Musk, has been vocal about redirecting users towards paid subscriptions as a means to combat the proliferation of bots. He sees this as a way to significantly impede bot operations by raising the cost for bot farms to operate within the platform. However, to achieve this objective, a substantial portion of X’s user base needs to embrace the X Premium subscriptions, which has yet to materialize, with less than 0.5% of users currently enrolled.
In response, Musk has hinted at the introduction of a more affordable payment tier for the verification program, aiming to entice a higher number of sign-ups. There’s speculation that X might eventually enforce mandatory payments for app access, but such a move could pose challenges given the current low uptake of the verification program.
Despite potential hurdles, X is persevering in its quest to combat bots and enhance its revenue streams. The upcoming addition of audio and video calls as premium features could be a step in the right direction, providing additional incentives for users to opt for the X Premium subscription. While these features may not be considered essential, they showcase X’s commitment to trying new strategies in the ongoing battle against social platform bots, a problem that has yet to be effectively resolved by any other platform. Only time will tell if this approach proves successful and ushers in a new era for the platform.