Twitter will begin paying some creators for advertisements served in their replies, according to former CEO Elon Musk. The move is likely an attempt to revive Twitter's advertising revenue, which has struggled since Musk took over the platform last October. Only verified users will be eligible for payment, and only ads that are served to other verified users will count. The program will begin “in a few weeks,” and the first block of payments will total $5 million. The increased revenue that could come in from the new model would likely help Twitter shift to its new identity as X, “an everything app” with a number of functions Musk hopes will make it “the biggest financial institution in the world.”
The new advertising initiative was announced days after Linda Yaccarino, Twitter’s new CEO with an extensive advertising background, took over from Musk. It’s unclear so far what sort of posts or which users will be eligible for the advertising payments. Yaccarino came to Twitter from NBCUniversal where she was the head of advertising, and it was speculated her hire was in part to soothe nervous advertisers who left the platform, while Musk previously said she would also help “transform this platform into X.”
Musk has been obsessed with the idea of expanding Twitter well beyond a social platform even before his $44 billion purchase of Twitter last fall, saying the Twitter acquisition was “an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” He changed the corporation name earlier this year, informing partners that Twitter, Inc. was officially X Corp., though the social platform would keep the name Twitter in a move that isn’t dissimilar to Google’s transition to Alphabet or Facebook’s to Meta.
After Musk bought Twitter, more than half of Twitter’s top advertisers stopped spending on the platform, in part due to a reduced staff that weakened the company’s content moderation, and a slew of controversial policies. Musk has said Twitter would work with advertisers over their other concerns, but that maintaining “freedom of speech is paramount.” In April, Musk said the company was “breaking even” as advertisers were returning, but a later report from the New York Times revealed ad revenue was down 59% from the previous year.