Is MrBeast’s X Video An Ad? (Updated)

Mr Beast in pile of cash blue to pink vertical gradient Passionfruit Remix
Photo credit: MrBeast/YouTube, Remix by Caterina Cox

It’s been a tense few weeks for Elon Musk. MrBeast, one of the biggest YouTubers in the world, admitted he was snubbing the billionaire’s platform because their monetization process “wouldn’t fund a fraction” of his videos’ costs.

The YouTuber, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, is known for elaborate ‘challenge’ and giveaway videos which, he added, “costs millions to make.”

Still, he told Elon that he was down to “test stuff when monetization is really cranking,” and he made good on his word recently, as he reuploaded his “$1 Car vs. $100,000,000 Car” video to X. The aim, it seems, was to see what kind of monetization he could expect from the platform if he were to keep posting on there.

But X users are claiming there’s an indication that the video, which includes a pre-roll Shopify ad, is being sneakily boosted as an ad. Users pointed to telltale signs like the lack of post time next to the username and the “ad indicator” on the top right of the post. Both of these qualities, they noted, are usually found in X ads as opposed to organic posts.

If the video is an ad, this means that its presence on the platform is being artificially inflated, which in turn means it is not a true representation of X’s monetization process.

“Honestly, I bet Elon just did it without Jimmy spending any money so he could pretend it did better than it should,” one user said. “Or maybe Elon will just pin all of MrBeast’s posts.”

X and MrBeast’s representatives didn’t immediately respond to Passionfruit’s request for comment via email.

However, Ryan Broderick, founder of the Garbage Day newsletter, claims he has spoken to an employee at X. Per this employee, X’s pre-roll ad feature, Amplify, automatically boosts posts with these ads in them, but without the extra labels usually attributed to boosted ad posts.

This, the employee claims, is what happened with MrBeast’s post. Because it includes an already-disclosed Shopify ad, boosting it in this way isn’t technically against ad rules.

Update, Jan. 22, 2023, 10:22 am CT: This article has been updated to reflect additional information provided by X to journalist Ryan Broderick.

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