Elon Musk’s latest attempt to monetize Twitter involves charging users for a previously free service. Academic researchers have long used Twitter’s API, or software programming interface, to access data on the platform’s conversations in order to better understand the topics that people are interested in. However, lecturers who investigate Twitter’s API may now be priced out of the service.
Wired reports that the service will add three levels of Enterprise Packages to its developer platform. The first package costs $42,000 per month or $504,000 per year and gives you access to 50 million tweets. The second package costs $125,000 per month, or $1.5 million, and gives you access to 100 million tweets. The final package costs $210,000 per month, or $2.52 million, and includes access to 200 million tweets. Several API users have received emails informing them that the new pricing plans will be implemented within the next few months.
Twitter’s advertising revenue is declining, forcing Musk to seek alternative ways to monetize the company. This includes charging people $7.99 for Twitter Blue, which he quickly reversed and then reinstated. More than half of Twitter’s top advertisers have abandoned the platform in the months since the deal closed, as companies typically don’t want their ads for shampoo and luxury cars next to hate speech and weird conspiracy theories. According to critics, this is the result of Musk relaxing the restrictions on who can be banned from the platform.
To summarise, while Musk paid $44 billion for Twitter, he is having difficulty monetizing his new acquisition. With Twitter’s ad revenue declining, it’s unclear whether charging users for previously free services will be a successful way for Musk to generate more revenue.