Musk's cronies are getting huge payouts.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk is cutting some substantial checks in a bid to keep popular personalities — including an accused sex trafficker — on the social media platform amid millions of disillusioned users switching over to alternatives ranging from Meta's Threads to Jack Dorsey's Bluesky.
In February, Musk announced that he would share ad revenue with Twitter "creators" — though only ones subscribed to Twitter Blue — who generate a considerable amount of traffic for the website, a scheme reminiscent of YouTube's Partner Program.
"Starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators for ads that appear in their reply threads," Musk tweeted at the time.
Of course, such a feature didn't actually materialize as an increasingly distracted Musk turned his attention to more pressing matters.
But now, almost half a year later, the mercurial CEO has seemingly made good on his promise, notifying a who's-who of Twitter users that they're getting big payouts.
Perhaps most notably, toxic manosphere personality Andrew Tate — who was recently released from jail following rape and human trafficking charges — revealed that he got around $20,000 from Musk.
Another far-right influencer, Rogan O'Handley, called his payout a "nice turnaround from being banned by Twitter 1.0 for almost 2 years to now being paid to post."
Others were left out in the cold, despite generating "hundreds of impressions for Twitter every year," as social media strategist Matt Navarra tweeted.
As The Washington Post reports, Twitter's scheme is as sketchy as it sounds. Creators who apply for the program will have to pass a "human review."
In other words, there's a good chance Musk handpicked a number of his buddies and allies to keep them posting on the floundering platform.
One former Twitter executive told the WaPo that "any kind of content monetization we’ve done in the past was based on a revenue model. This just feels pulled out of thin air for a specific subset of creators that he wanted to placate."
"It really feels like they’re arbitrarily writing checks to people they like, which is not a sustainable creator strategy," the former executive added.
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