Bluesky Surges as Elon Musk Announces Fees for X Users

Social media platform Bluesky experiences record-breaking user surge following Elon Musk’s subscription fee announcement for X.

The social media landscape witnessed a seismic shift as Bluesky, the budding rival to Twitter’s rebranded X, soared to new heights in user engagement. Elon Musk’s recent declaration of charging all X users a modest monthly fee, a move aimed at curbing the platform’s notorious bot problem, inadvertently turned the tide in Bluesky’s favor, captivating users’ attention.

Musk’s Controversial Decision

Musk’s game-changing announcement during a live event on September 18.

On September 18, during a live-streamed event, Elon Musk, the owner of X, sent shockwaves across the social media sphere by unveiling his plans to introduce a subscription payment model for X. This strategic maneuver was his response to the relentless infiltration of bots on the platform. The decision didn’t sit well with X’s user base.

Bluesky’s Meteoric Rise

Bluesky’s impressive surge in new sign-ups and daily active users.According to a comprehensive analysis by Mashable, Bluesky saw a staggering influx of 53,585 new sign-ups within a single day, translating to an astonishing 5% growth in its user base, which currently hovers around 1.13 million accounts. Analytics firm Similarweb corroborated these findings, revealing that Bluesky’s Android app experienced a surge of half a million daily active users on the very day of Musk’s announcement, marking a 20.6% increase compared to the previous day. While data for iOS usage is pending, Similarweb expects a similar trend.

Simultaneously, the Bluesky web app witnessed an extraordinary spike, with over 775,000 daily visitors, a remarkable 30% boost from the day before. This figure even eclipsed Bluesky’s user count on July 1, 2023, when the platform faced another X-related controversy involving temporary rate limits.

Such an overwhelming influx of new users prompted Bluesky to temporarily halt new sign-ups as its website struggled to cope with the surge in traffic.

Bluesky’s Unique Advantage

How Bluesky capitalizes on X’s stumbles, a trend not mirrored by other Twitter competitors.

Bluesky has shown its uncanny ability to capitalize on X’s missteps, a feat not replicated by other would-be Twitter rivals like Instagram Threads or Mastodon. For instance, Meta’s new Twitter clone registered 8.3 million daily active users on September 18, a figure largely consistent with the previous day, and still trailing far behind its peak usage shortly after launch.

The Missed Opportunities

Why Bluesky hesitates to exploit these moments to expand its user base.Despite its remarkable performance, Bluesky remains invite-only. If the platform had opened its doors to the public during these critical junctures, its user base could have witnessed even more explosive growth.

X’s Dominance and Concerns

X’s position in the market and recent efforts to regain its footing.

Elon Musk announced that X boasts a colossal 550 million monthly active users, dwarfing Bluesky and other competitors such as Threads or Mastodon. Market intelligence firm estimates that Threads has 135 million global monthly active users. In contrast, Mastodon, which publicly shares its monthly active user numbers, stands at 1.7 million.   

However, despite its dominance, X appears to be uneasy about its market standing following the rebranding. The company recently added “formerly Twitter” to its App Store description to boost its search rankings, replacing the previous tagline, “Blaze your glory,” which seemed less effective in attracting users.

Notably, X witnessed a decline in weekly active users after the rebrand, while Twitter Lite’s installs saw growth, possibly due to consumer confusion as users searched for Twitter and found only the Lite app catering to emerging markets.

As X grapples with its rebranding challenges, the battle for user supremacy rages on. Bluesky emerges as a formidable contender in the ongoing saga of social media evolution.


Flavie Du

Flavie Du was a senior writer at BTW media focused on blockchain and fintech investment. She graduated from King’s College London.

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