We all know that Black people set trends and move culture ahead. In the modern social media age, that means TikTok, Instagram and yes, Black Twitter. We’re responsible for popular slang, dances and memes. Any show or event you love to live tweet is ten times more fun on Black Twitter. Now, the platform’s owner, Elon Musk wants to put a stop to the party by charging for its use.
This idea isn’t exactly a surprise, as he’s been threatening to do this since he bought Twitter and decided to change it to X. On Monday, during a wide-ranging conversation with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the tech billionaire explained that his solution to deal with the “vast armies of bots” that permeate the platform: X will be “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system.” Musk didn’t offer details on pricing, but hinted that it could be less than Twitter Blue’s $8-per-month.
I’m not a tech billionaire, but suddenly charging users for something they’ve been getting for free for 17 years feels like a bad business decision. People are exhausted with subscription services, and only have room in their budget for a limited number. When you combine a new monthly charge with all the other ridiculous changes Musk has implemented—like suggesting that he’d remove the block feature—this could be the last straw for Twitter.
As much as we love Black Twitter when it comes to things like the Montgomery Brawl, the slap or just reacting to our favorite shows, it’s also essential when it comes to disaster relief, activists protesting injustice, marginalized communities establishing safe networks and people who aren’t able or comfortable with in-person communication interacting with the world. It often seems like Musk doesn’t understand this aspect of the platform or just doesn’t care.
One user pointed to the importance of the site, posting, “Also, the lifelines of people affected by wars and disaster areas have been destroyed. I think such people need a platform like Twitter X that can spread the word in real time. So Charge-Free is a relief for people who are in difficult situations.”
We’ve already discussed how Twitter has become more dangerous for people of color and the LGBTQ+ community since Musk took over. The SpaceX boss is an ardent supporter of “free speech.” However, there’s a difference between letting Nazis spew hateful slurs, and giving them a platform to attack other users.
Suddenly charging for something that has become an essential part of life for so many people signals that you don’t care about the site’s users and you’re trying to make us pay for your bad business decisions. Seems like this could be the last straw that really drives people off Twitter.