Elon Musk is trending on X (formerly Twitter) today, and for the first time in a long time, it’s for something positive.

This morning, Desmond Oris and a number of his friends were greeted with credit alerts from Twitter. The group of influencers, also X Premium users, each received payments of between $251 and $500 for being active on the platform. These payments, which make up X’s Ads Revenue Sharing programme for creators globally are a part of Musk’s strategy to encourage subscriptions to X Premium by sharing income made from advertising with the creators. The criteria for eligibility include being subscribed to X Premium, and having a minimum of 500 followers and at least 15 million impressions on cumulative posts within the past three months. 

Oris, who started on his influencer path in June 2022, didn’t expect much from the Ads Revenue Sharing programme at first. “A lot of us just signed up for the sake of signing up, and lowkey thought Musk was just talking,” he said. Musk announced the Ad revenue-sharing programme for creators in February 2023 amidst his campaign to get more people to sign up for Twitter Blue. The company sent out the first round of payments for eligible accounts in July before opening up registration to more people. Four days ago, the company’s support account apologised for delayed payments as their system received more registrations than they had anticipated. However, it seems that all that has been sorted, as numerous users globally have taken to the app to share screenshots of their payments from the platform.

For Victoria Gwaza, an influencer with close to 20,000 followers, this development has pushed her to get the famous blue tick that accompanied subscribing accounts.  “I’ve always wanted to get the tick because it has a lot of benefits, like being able to edit tweets and send DMs to anyone without worrying about DM limits. However, my card wasn’t compatible, and so I couldn’t do that earlier. With this new payment system now, it is absolutely necessary for me to find a way to get it done, and I will do that today. I tweet regularly and have impressions as high as four to five million monthly.”

According to Gwaza, X payouts have also raised the stakes for influencer marketing. “My prices have automatically gone up,” she said while laughing. “Brands can no longer offer peanuts to influencers because now, with or without brands paying you, you’re going to get paid for being relevant and sparking conversations.”

Not everyone is happy with this development, however. A number of users have expressed concerns about the app becoming even more toxic in the coming days.  “I can already tell that people are going to be unapologetically hateful and reckless moving forward. I feel bad for minority groups in particular as they will be on the receiving end of a lot of this. We’ve had countless scenarios where people came on there to spread misinformation and hate, to elicit engagement and grow their followers. These followers and engagement are what increase their chances of being selected by brands. Now that the process is much more direct and everyone can get paid as long as you have a blue tick and a certain number of impressions, do you realise how much more desperate these people will become?,” a user, Falmata shared.

“The most insidious thing is that Musk has made it possible for these influencers to hide their verified badges so that we can’t even tell those tweeting in good faith and those simply farming for engagement,” she concluded.

It’s worthwhile to note that Premium users aren’t automatically eligible and you have to apply. The application process is fairly straightforward, according to Oris. “Once you go to ‘Settings’, click on ‘monetization’, and then click on ‘Creator Ads Revenue Sharing’, and then ‘Enable’. That’s all you need to do.”

While it’s uncertain how long Musk can sustain these payouts considering the company’s declining revenue, it has undoubtedly done what he set out to achieve— motivate more people into signing up for the Premium service.

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