Elon Musk putting Twitter behind a paywall could ‘sound the death knell’ for the social media platform, experts say

According to the social media site, Twitter, top advisers have been discussing the idea of charging users a subscription fee for using their platform. This topic has been covered in a newsletter called “Platformer,” which focuses on technology and is written by Elon Musk.

According to a report from Platformer, citing a source familiar with discussions in high-level meetings at the company, Twitter may require a paid subscription after a certain monthly period in order to continue using the platform. This would be necessary to ensure access for all users.

Stephen King, Mark Ruffalo, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with several other individuals, have expressed their disapproval of the contentious decision to enhance Twitter’s account verification system, as reported by Platformer. According to the publication, these proposed strategies did not seem to be forthcoming.

Twitter representatives did not respond to Fortune’s request to provide a comment on the reports regarding the paywall.

Experts are speculating on the potential damage to the business model of this kind of social media site, as Twitter considers the idea of implementing a paywall, according to Musk’s thoughts.

Paul Sutton, a social media consultant who has collaborated with major brands such as L’Oréal and Honda, informed Fortune that he thought implementing a paywall for Twitter would essentially signal the demise of the platform.

Sutton noted that the majority of Twitter’s income is generated from advertising, but an unavoidable decline in that advertising revenue would be offset by a sufficient number of users paying to access the platform.

No. Users will discover another location. However, is it of such great worth that those connections cannot be established elsewhere? Twitter has served as an incredible platform for numerous individuals throughout the years, and long-time users still hold an affection for it due to the connections it can form. “In my opinion, the response to that question is negative,” he expressed.

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Andrew Chadwick, a professor of political communication at Loughborough University, stated during a call with Fortune on Tuesday that Musk’s alleged paywall plans could potentially weaken Twitter as a platform.

There are plenty of users who are not prepared to pay for free content elsewhere and on Twitter. The problem with saying that we will move to a platform that follows a ‘freemium’ model, half-free and half-payment, is that users will just lose them. Platforms like Twitter rely on eyeballs and advertising as the lifeblood of their business model.

Nevertheless, Chadwick mentioned that there were also numerous Twitter users who would gladly be willing to subscribe.

He stated, “However, one of the benefits of the platform model is that you have the option to subscribe and access enhanced features, but you do so with the understanding that the number of recipients for your messages will not decrease.” “The issue is that if they fail to strike the right balance, they will diminish the audience–and consequently, individuals who are ready to pay for a subscription will question, Why should I make the effort?”.

Twitter transforming into a ‘significantly more restricted’ platform

On Tuesday, during a phone call with Fortune, Dr. Rajab Ghandour revealed that Twitter, under Musk’s leadership, seemed to be moving towards becoming a more closed social media platform, potentially only available to subscribers. Dr. Ghandour also mentioned that he was more optimistic about this direction than Chadwick and Sutton.

Ghandour stated that he believes people will have to pay $8 per month to get their verification blue-tick as a wider model of paywall to be seen remains the platform for work.

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He stated, “That is not completely evident at this moment. Individuals will contribute, yet will every individual contribute? Individuals will be made steady through the clients they have and individuals supporting Elon through this procedure–I do trust what they are endeavoring to do is confine deceitful records and bots. Numerous individuals will move to new destinations, so [it’s conceivable] countless individuals are now migrating to new stages like Mastodon.”

Ghandour noted that, at present, the absence of blue ticks will not prevent people from using the platform, so the restriction of unverified accounts from using Twitter has not been discussed.

“In the future, I believe it could be possible for an increasing number of individuals to afford using the platform,” he expressed.

Meanwhile, Tom Jackson, a professor of information and knowledge management at Loughborough University, speculated that considering the platform’s current daily loss of more than $4 million, it was “inevitable” for Musk to take action such as integrating a paywall into Twitter.

“He informed me over the phone that there are millions and millions of Twitter accounts across the globe, so he only needs a small proportion of them to subscribe in order to start making some money. I can’t actually see how many of those millions will actually pay to see that, but I can see why he might want to do that, as there are definitely better business models for Twitter out there.”

Jackson, as per the result of a subscription-based approach, the success would rely on how the paywall is implemented. It is possible that the complete website is concealed from nonsubscribers, or alternatively, it could still be visible but only subscribers would have the ability to compose tweets.

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“I would prefer the option where I can see the tweets, but if you choose B Plan, you have to pay to tweet, similar to A Plan where everything is behind a paywall. However, if Musk opts for A Plan, the global voice being heard across the globe is reduced dramatically. But on Twitter, it’s the only platform where anyone can see things, and that’s the fundamental aspect of Twitter that we might miss as a society.”

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