The YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson—better known as MrBeast—has the biggest individual YouTube channel in the world. His average video scoops up over 100 million views on the platform, and now he’s posting his videos on X, where at first glance it looks like he’s racking up even bigger numbers than ever.
The first video he posted on the site—which runs down the differences between a $1 car, a $100,000,000 car, and everything in between—racked up over 157 million views, and drew raised eyebrows from people who kept seeing the post all over their feeds.
“I’m curious how much ad revenue a video on X would make so I’m reuploading this to test it. Will share ad rev next week,” Donaldson posted last Monday, after X CEO Elon Musk repeatedly promoted him to post directly on the platform, trying to lure creators away from social video competitors like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.
When the results finally came in this Monday though, Donaldson included a couple of caveats about the revenue it pulled in
“MY FIRST X VIDEO MADE OVER $250,000! 😲,” Donaldson posted above to a screenshot of his analytics.
“But it’s a bit of a facade. Advertisers saw the attention it was getting and bought ads on my video (I think) and thus my revenue per view is probably higher than what you’d experience,” Donaldson explained.
That number attracted skepticism and jokes from other premium subscribers who wondered why they weren’t getting the same type of payouts for their own high-impression tweets.
“this explains why my revenue was cut in half,” posted @contextdogs.
“and theres everyone else making $100,” added @s8n.
“Or… nothing…” replied @YazmeliAyzol.
Creator payouts have been opaque on X since they were first introduced last year in August. To qualify, users need to have a Premium or Verified Organization subscription, have over 500 followers, and have at least five million impressions on posts within the last three months. The payouts also vary based on geography.
When the MrBeast video was first posted, users who kept seeing it in their feed speculated that the algorithm was being “juiced” to boost the post, reported Mashable.
“this has shown up in my feed maybe 7 times now,” said @SHL0MS on Friday.
“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[.] so is there a third, secret type of post you get when you’re a YouTuber and Elon wants you to post here?”
That type of reach had some people speculating that the post was getting some sort of algorithmic special sauce—something Musk has reportedly done before.
The Verge reported in February last year that Musk was obsessed with engagement, tasking engineers with designing a system that would boost the impressions on all of his tweets—and threatening them with losing their jobs if they didn’t.
The Garbage Day newsletter spoke to an X employee who claimed some shenanigans were going on behind the scenes with the video.
Cody Johnston of the Some More News podcast also found things off, saying that the MrBeast video showed up with the “promoted” label on it in a version of the app that he hadn’t updated in a year.
The payout amount also attracted skepticism—with users claiming that MrBeast’s post was being boosted to trick creators onto the platform into thinking that posting on it is more profitable than it actually is.
“This implies $593 dollars per 1 million impressions which is waaay more than what most people are seeing,” posted @TailosiveTech. “Definitely artificially inflated.”
But Musk has been adamant that eventually video on X could be more powerful and profitable than YouTube and TikTok.
However creators may want to wait to see more numbers before they pivot completely.