X (aka Twitter) pays users now. Expect engagement bait to rise.


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Prepare for your Twitter — sorry, X — feed to clog up with engagement bait.

In July, owner Elon Musk fulfilled his months-old promise to pay users for their tweets — if they joined Twitter Blue (now called X Premium), that is. Only paying users who fulfilled certain eligibility requirements could sign up for the Creator Ads Revenue Sharing program: 15 million tweet impressions in the last three months, and a minimum payout of $50. It’s unclear how exactly the payment is measured; Musk said it’s not exactly per impression, but by how many ads are shown to other verified users.


X/Twitter executives had a very bad day defending Musk’s platform

As the Washington Post reported, it seemed like Musk first rewarded right-wing influencers with big-enough engagement to warrant five-figure payouts. Other X users appeared happy with their earnings, though, claiming the return on investment is worth it.

This week, Elon Musk lowered the eligibility requirements for creator monetization, making it easier for X Premium users to cash out on their tweets. Now, X Premium users only need 5 million impressions in the last three months, 500 followers, and a minimum payout of $10.

While the payment measure is murky, the prospect of high-dollar payouts just for tweeting is tempting. You may have already seen a spike in prompt tweets or other content that makes for easy replying and quote tweeting (a.k.a. “engagement bait” or “rage bait”); it may be because of the incentive to get paid for your eyeballs. Some X users have certainly noticed:

X already rewards those who post rage bait — as does social media in general — and for the platforms, this turns anger into dollars as users can’t stop themselves from watching or commenting. This creator monetization change will likely bring more of the same, making X even more of a cesspool than it already is. If you see a blue check account ask an asinine question: bait. If you see a blue check account posting obvious misinformation: bait. If you see a non-blue check account posting these things, it may be an X Premium user who hid their blue check.

How exactly this plays out remains to be seen, but if the first few days are any indication, non-paying (and non-paid) X users will continue to be frustrated by the platform.


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