The Possible Future of X: Expanding into Adult Content Subscriptions?

The Possible Future of X: Expanding into Adult Content Subscriptions?

X, the social media platform, has been facing various challenges lately, including a reduced staff pool and concerns about child protection. In an effort to address these concerns, X CEO Linda Yaccarino is set to appear before Congress to explain the platform’s ongoing efforts to combat child sexual exploitation (CSE) material. To further enhance its responsiveness in addressing this issue, X has also announced a plan to build a new “Trust and Safety center of excellence” in Texas. This center will focus on fighting material related to child sexual exploitation and will also enforce other rules of the platform, such as restrictions on hate speech and violent posts.

While addressing CSE should be a priority for X, there might be more to this plan than meets the eye. It is worth considering whether this move is a proactive response to reassure lawmakers and improve X’s appeal to ad partners, or if there is another, more controversial plan in play. In 2022, Twitter explored the possibility of enabling adult content creators to sell subscriptions within the app, tapping into the lucrative self-made content market of platforms like OnlyFans. X, with its existing presence of adult content, could also consider monetizing this aspect to generate more revenue. However, Twitter’s exploration revealed significant challenges in effectively policing harmful sexual content, including child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity. As a result, Twitter decided not to proceed with the plan.

With X’s ad revenue still down by 50% and big-name advertisers pausing their ad spend, it is possible that X is reconsidering the plan and gearing up to expand into adult content subscriptions. Recent developments, such as a deal with BetMGM to display gambling odds in-stream and positioning itself as a “video-first platform,” align with the concept of an “everything app” envisioned by Elon Musk. It is logical to assume that an “everything app” would include adult content as well. Despite the additional cost of assigning a new team to police CSE violations, X might see this as a way to offset the outlay with an all-new monetization avenue. Enabling adult content creators to reach a broader audience could potentially generate substantial revenue for X.

X is in a challenging financial position, with its main ad income stream still significantly down and the burden of loan debt due to Musk’s purchase of the app. Despite Musk’s cost-cutting efforts, X is struggling to break even, let alone turn a profit. Furthermore, advertisers are still avoiding the platform due to Musk’s controversial remarks. Therefore, X needs new pathways to build its business and generate revenue. The investment in a new moderation center must have a direct benefit, and while appeasing advertisers and regulators is important, it is highly unlikely that CSE is the primary factor driving away ad partners.

Although X’s actual strategy moving forward remains known only to those inside the company, there are signs that suggest a possible revisiting of the adult content plan. X’s emphasis on freedom of speech and its urgent need for financial stability make an expansion into adult content subscriptions a plausible course of action. However, it is essential to highlight that this speculation is based on the current circumstances and available information, and only time will reveal the true intentions of X.

X’s continued efforts to combat child sexual exploitation are commendable, and the establishment of a new Trust and Safety center of excellence demonstrates the platform’s commitment to addressing this issue. However, the possibility of X expanding into adult content subscriptions should not be dismissed entirely. The platform’s financial struggles and the need to attract advertisers and generate revenue may drive X towards exploring new avenues, including the monetization of adult content. Only time will tell whether X will take this step.

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