The fix is in, apparently.
MrBeast, the most popular creator on YouTube, uploaded his latest YouTube video to Elon Musk’s X for the first time. According to MrBeast, he was “curious” about “how much ad revenue” he would make from the upload, so he uploaded the video directly to the platform as a “test.”
Now, X users are reporting that MrBeast’s post containing the video upload is being forced into their feed multiple times a day as an unlabeled advertisement.
“This has shown up in my feed maybe 7 times now,” posted one X user, referring to the MrBeast video. “It is both missing the post time next to the username (indicative of a normal user post) and the Ad indicator on the top right.”
The user is referring to the proliferation of apparently unlabeled ads, a fairly recent phenomenon on X that began after Musk acquired the company in October 2022. It is one that Mashable has previously reported on.
What’s going on here?
X has served some of its users unlabeled advertisements since September of last year. These ads appear in a users’ feed without any “ad” or “promoted” label that the platform usually affixes to paid posts. However, users can tell that these are unlabeled ads and not organic posts because they are missing the date the post was published, which are shown on posts but not ads. In addition, as Mashable previously reported and as the quoted X user also discovered, users can still find an option to tell X that they are “not interested in this ad” in the dropdown ellipsis icon menu on unlabeled ads. This option does not appear for organic posts.
Adtech watchdog Check My Ads has already previously filed a complaint against X with the FTC over the company’s lack of transparency regarding this labeling issue.
An X employee claimed to Ryan Broderick of the Garbage Day newsletter in a recent report that because there’s a labeled pre-roll video ad that plays before MrBeast’s video, the company considers that to be the disclosure. This, according to the X employee, explains why there’s no “ad” or “promoted” label affixed to the actual Mr Beast post itself.
That doesn’t make any sense. The pre-roll video ad is a completely different advertisement. If viewers are being served MrBeast’s post in their feed and it isn’t organically showing up — and the aforementioned attributes point to it being served via X’s advertising platform — then MrBeast’s post containing the video is a completely separate advertisement, and needs to be labeled as such.
In fact, as some other X users have pointed out, older versions of the X app indeed show MrBeast’s post with the “promoted” label which means it is being served to users via X’s advertising platform.
We should note here that it’s possible that some users are being served MrBeast’s post organically. Many ads on X are published as regular posts and then later boosted through its ad platform. The instances mentioned in this piece, however, are promoted posts being served through X’s ad platform.
So, it appears that X is juicing MrBeast’s impressions via unlabeled ads. One can certainly argue whether this lack of transparency is intentional or not, but this does seem to be what’s happening.
Why does it matter?
Musk’s vision for X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, depends heavily on video content. X CEO Linda Yaccarino’s big announcement at this year’s CES, for example, was that the company signed former CNN host Don Lemon, sports radio host Jim Rome, and Fox News contributor Tulsi Gabbard to exclusive video deals.
Musk has been known to drop into creators, influencers, and other media figures’ replies and urge them to upload their content directly to X. In fact, he did this very thing to MrBeast on a few occasions.
MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, previously voiced opposition to uploading to X. According to MrBeast, his videos cost too much to produce, and YouTube was the only platform that could compensate him fairly for the amount of views his content receives. But MrBeast was apparently convinced to try uploading directly to X at least once as a “test.”
If Musk wins over MrBeast entirely with a big payday based on how his video upload performs, then the X owner just secured the most popular content creator on the internet for his multimedia vision for the future of X.
What’s next for X and MrBeast?
MrBeast has commented on his “test” just a few times since posting the video earlier this week.
The creator appeared shocked that his post had over 100 million views. (As of publication, Mr Beast’s post has 128 million views.) However, on X, views aren’t counted like they are on video platforms like YouTube. On the contrary, those “views” are actually just impressions on the post itself, not the number of people who played MrBeast’s video. In May 2023, Musk had X remove the public video view count from the platform, so it’s unclear now how many actual views a video gets on X.
In his latest post, MrBeast has asked his followers to vote on just how much they think X will pay him as part of the ad revenue share program: $10, $10,000, $100,000, or $1 million.
It’s almost impossible to tell how much MrBeast will rake in due to how X’s creator monetization program works. X users can only participate in the monetization program if they are paying subscribers to X’s monthly subscription programs like X Premium or X Premium+. In addition, X only pays creators for ads that appear in the replies to their posts. Furthermore, only impressions from other paying X Premium subscribers count towards monetization.
As Mashable has previously reported, X’s payout amounts to each creator seems completely arbitrary. X employees have shared that users can’t really calculate how much they’ll actually make as pay isn’t determined by a set number of views like they are on other platforms. Those who have made the most on X appear to mostly consist of Musk’s personal favorite political commentators, Tesla fans, and meme accounts.
And, of course, we’ve yet to mention that Musk himself promoted MrBeast’s video to his 169 million followers.
MrBeast has promised to share just how much he makes from X’s monetization program from this test. So, we’ll soon find out the answer to that question. Whatever MrBeast makes though, it seems clear that X put its fingers heavily on the scale to make sure circumstances favored a massive view count.
In a recent move, popular YouTuber MrBeast uploaded his latest video directly to Elon Musk’s platform, X, as a test to see how much ad revenue he could make. However, X users have reported that MrBeast’s video is being forcefully inserted into their feeds multiple times a day without any indication that it is an advertisement. This lack of transparency in labeling ads has been a growing concern on X since Musk acquired the platform in 2022. Adtech watchdog Check My Ads has previously filed a complaint against X with the FTC over this issue. An X employee claimed that the labeled pre-roll video ad before MrBeast’s video serves as the disclosure, but users argue that the actual post should be labeled as an advertisement. This lack of transparency matters because Musk’s vision for X heavily relies on video content, and securing MrBeast as a content creator would be a significant win for the platform. It remains to be seen how much MrBeast will earn from X’s monetization program, as the payout amounts seem arbitrary, and only paying subscribers can participate. Despite these concerns, it is clear that X heavily promoted MrBeast’s video to ensure a high view count.