The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Social media isn’t worth it anymore

With social media platforms becoming increasingly geared toward making money, perhaps we should all drop it for good.
Cody Blisset
Photo Illustration by Cody Blissett

Social media platforms have never been great, but the platforms’ eagerness to find revenue streams has now resulted in asking users to pay for features that used to be free.

In recent months and years, almost all major social media companies, such as Snapchat, Meta, and X, formerly known as Twitter, have started to put a price tag on basic features that were once free in an attempt to turn a higher profit.

In their quest to simply make more money, social media companies have sacrificed the convenience of their websites. For users, it’s just not worth it to keep utilizing these platforms.

After Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in April 2022, which is in the process of rebranding to X, basic features on the site that used to be free like direct messaging or how many tweets you would be able to see while scrolling have now been paywalled behind a subscription.

Meta and X have also implemented systems that require users to pay to have verification badges, even if they were verified before the paid system was implemented. This also means that anyone who pays the fee gets a badge.

This system has already caused serious problems. One account that paid for a verification badge on X pretended to be pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, and posted that the company’s insulin products are now free, causing the company’s stock to take a significant hit.

Systems like pay-to-use verification badges are clearly harmful, and the spread of misinformation is always dangerous. However, the bosses of these companies have decided their profits are more important.

These moves by the platforms are going to make it worse for the users. The goal is not to get as many people to sign up anymore, it is to squeeze every dollar out of the users who remained committed and stayed behind to keep using these platforms.

We should all collectively use this trend as an excuse to delete our social media accounts. Whatever benefits social media used to have have been outweighed by its downsides, and it is only going to get worse.

The purpose of social media should be to make it easy for people to connect with others, whether it’s family and friends, businesses, artists; you name it. If these companies want to make it more difficult and costly to connect with people, then the point of social media is defeated, and the companies don’t deserve the loyalty of their users if they are just going to make their own product harder to use for the sake of increased profits.

It’s true that companies exist to make money, and social media hasn’t been as profitable as some once expected. Musk reported in July that X’s ad revenue was down by 50 percent. But by gatekeeping basic features like verification and messaging behind paywalls, the user’s experience has become a casualty of this monetary quest.

When a platform begins seeking new ways to worsen the user experience by design in favor of money, that means it is no longer sustainable.

Social media works when it is easy and convenient for users, but this new direction is destroying that goal. Not only are many of the real benefits of social media dead and gone, but by all indications, it is going to get worse. The executives will keep pushing their luck until they go off a cliff, and it is not worth sticking around with them. Ultimately, social media is just not worth it anymore.

It’s time to find new ways to connect.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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About the Contributor
Peter Anders, Opinions Columnist
Email: [email protected] Peter Anders is an Opinions Columnist at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior majoring in informatics and computer science while minoring in criminology. He primarily focuses on writing about technology and the effects it has on society.