X's 2024 plans include peer-to-peer payments in app push

Ex-Twitter isn't exactly rolling in cash - has anyone thought about how much it'll cost to run all that new stuff?

Peer-to-peer payments, AI integration, additional exposure to stuff you hate, and more: That's what's apparently coming to the site formerly known as Twitter in 2024.

According to Elon Musk's personal social media site, "2023 was foundational for X, and 2024 will be transformational." As part of its transformational year, X said it intended to launch P2P payments on the app along with a number of other features.

Musk said over the summer he wanted X to become a hub for users' "entire financial world," and apparently P2P payments are the first step in that direction. That feature, the site claims, will "unlock more user utility and new opportunities for commerce" as well as "showcasing the power of living more of your life in one place," ie: Musk's envisioned everything app. 

"X is not just another app," Musk's biz said, "it's becoming the everything app." 

Along with P2P payments, the network said it also intends to "increasingly power the X user and advertising experience through artificial intelligence," which will be further embedded in the X platform to enhance search, improve ads and, we assume, tell bad dad jokes.

X said it also intends to expand creator and content partnerships, "strengthen our full-funnel ads," and "will continue to partner with industry leaders to bring you more brand safety capabilities and verification," hopefully a line that'll sit well with financiers frustrated that the value of their stake in the biz keeps losing value.

The site also said it intends to add a new feature to the platform for those not satisfied with the level of spam and troll posts in their feeds of late: An AI-curated "See Dissimilar Posts" feature that'll "empower users to explore content … that challenges their perspectives based on their past activity, improving the quality and balance of information they receive." 

X's year in review makes the finances even fuzzier

No pronouncement from the X team would be complete without some serious back-patting, which takes center stage in the announcement shared today. 

Team Twitter bragged of "significant improvements to the X user experience" in the past year; touted the success of Community Notes and "improvements" to Spaces and Communities; and described itself as "setting the bar with industry peers on how to deliver brand safe advertising in feed environments." 

Sure, it seems like whoever wrote that missed the past year in Muskland, but one data point from the past year stood out: X's claim to have become a "video-first platform."

"In December alone, people watched 130 years' worth of videos 30 minutes or longer," X said. It added that immersive video now has more than 100 million daily users and that eight out of ten user sessions on X involve watching videos. 

But can X afford that? 

It's hard to pin down precise numbers for what it costs Google to run YouTube, for example, but the yearly cost for hosting and serving hundreds of millions of videos on that platform is estimated to be a few billion dollars at least. 

At $168 a year for a Premium Twitter subscription, X would need tens of millions of subscribers just to cover its costs. X doesn't report Premium subscriber numbers, but estimates last year put the number of paying punters at under one million. 

You don't need to be the world's richest man to see that there might be some issues making that math work. When the purchased biz is already straining under huge interest payments on the loans Musk saddled it with and a serious decline in ad revenue, times could get rough. ®

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