Elon Musk’s attempts to make X (formerly Twitter) relevant took a slightly embarrassing turn the other day, as YouTube sensation MrBeast didn’t hold back in telling the tech mogul why he wouldn’t be uploading his content to X.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or worse, haven’t been reading Passionfruit), you’ll know that MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson is the most popular YouTuber of all time. With over 226 million YouTube subscribers, it’s clear why the creator — who is known for his elaborate ‘challenge’ videos and philanthropy — favors the platform.
But he’s not exactly a little fish on X either, with his official account boasting 25 million followers. On Saturday, he took to the platform to encourage followers to watch his newest video on YouTube, which led to one fan asking him to “upload on this platform too.”
This is where it gets a little cringeworthy, as X’s owner himself, Elon Musk, decided to join the conversation, echoing the fan’s demands with a slightly pathetic, “Yeah.”
In response, MrBeast wrote: “My videos cost millions to make and even if they got a billion views on X, it wouldn’t fund a fraction of it. I’m down though to test stuff once monetization is really cranking!”
X has a few monetization programs, but unlike Space X, they haven’t exactly taken off. Musk launched a monetization program in June 2023 for ad revenue shown on X replies, but the program lacked (and still lacks) transparency over how payouts are determined. While Musk claimed the first creator payment payout for the program totaled $5 million, MrBeast has estimated that his videos cost an average of $1 million each to make. So, you can see how posting that content on X may be more trouble than it’s worth.
X also introduced a monetization program in 2021 called “Super Follows,” rebranded to “Subscriptions” in 2023. The program allows creators to paywall certain content for a monthly fee. Initially, Musk said X wouldn’t take a cut of Subscription revenue for the first year of the program’s rebranding. However, the future of the program is a bit uncertain now, with creators not knowing how much revenue X will eventually end up taking.
Lastly, X offers some revenue sharing for Pre-Roll and Sponsorship ads played next to videos on the platform by verified publishers, but how that revenue split is calculated is currently unclear and non-transparent.
But more than anything, it could end up being a gamble that doesn’t quite pay off. This is because, unlike Patreon or YouTube’s monetization programs, there is no actual guarantee you’ll make money or a clear percentage of the revenue earned by your videos, and even some of the biggest creators, like KSI, reported only making $1,590 in a month on X.
Furthermore, it’s well-known that X is having some money problems related to ad revenue, with advertisers leaving the platform in November in droves after Musk tweeted in support of an antisemitic post.
If someone like MrBeast can’t get on board, that doesn’t bode well for the future of X’s monetization system.