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Elon Musk Announces Significant Changes to X. Here's What to Know

Elon Musk announced changes to the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on March 28, 2024. Credit - Alain Jocard—Getty Images

Elon Musk has announced new changes to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that will allow certain accounts to unlock free premium features.

Posting on the platform Thursday, the 52-year old tech billionaire, and TIME’s 2021 Person of the Year, said: “Going forward, all X accounts with over 2500 verified subscriber followers will get Premium features for free and accounts with over 5000 will get Premium+ for free.”

Previously, X Premium features would cost a user $8 per month and include the ability to share longer posts and video uploads, have larger reply prioritization, and see fewer adverts on their timeline. Meanwhile X Premium+ users have all the features of Premium with no adverts in the For You and Following timelines, as well as access to generative artificial intelligence chatbot Grok.

These models are the only way users can now display a blue checkmark that once denoted a verified account before the Tesla and SpaceX CEO acquired Twitter Inc for $44bn in April 2022.

The changes come two days after a U.S. judge threw out a lawsuit brought by X against a group that claimed hate speech has risen on the app since Musk’s takeover.

X accused the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) of taking "unlawful" steps to access and misrepresent its company data in CCDH research. But Judge Charles Breyer said it was "evident" that Musk’s X could not handle criticism and that his firm was "punishing the defendants for their speech." X is set to appeal Judge Breyer’s decision.

Read More: A Brief History of Elon Musk Saying One Thing and Doing Another at Twitter

The number of people using X each day is also reportedly falling, lagging behind its market rivals Instagram and TikTok.

As of February, the platform’s daily usership in America has decreased by 23% since November 2022, the month after Musk’s takeover was finalized, according to Sensor Tower figures reported by NBC News. Meanwhile, figures show that TikTok recorded drops of 10%, while Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all had user slumps of less than 5%.

Outside the U.S., global figures have also taken a hit. Daily active users on X fell to 174 million, a decline of 15% on the previous year. Meanwhile Snapchat grew by 8.8%, Instagram recorded 5.3%, Facebook 1.5%, and TikTok 0.5%, per Sensor Tower data.

“This decline in X mobile app active users may have been driven by user frustration over flagrant content, general platform technical issues, and the growing threat of short-form video platforms,” Abe Yousef, a senior insights analyst at Sensor Tower, wrote in a research report.

In a post shared by X Data on March 18, the platform said it currently welcomes 250 million global daily users. Outlets such as NBC News have been quick to point out that this is still a decrease from the 258 million users Musk reported in 2022, upon completing his acquisition of the platform.

Write to Armani Syed at armani.syed@time.com.