MrBeast’s first video on X made $263,000 in win for Elon Musk’s creator dream—but the YouTube star dismissed the cash as a ‘facade’ and is giving it away

It seems YouTube’s biggest name isn’t sold on X being a “video-first” platform, calling advertising revenue generated by his first video on the site a “facade.”

MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, is one of the world’s highest-profile content creators. Reportedly worth $500 million, the media personality has 234 million subscribers on YouTube with his videos racking up hundreds of millions of views each.

Donaldson’s work is so sought-after that X owner Elon Musk appealed to him directly to post on the platform previously known as Twitter, an offer which was initially rebuffed as the site couldn’t “fund a fraction” of Donaldson’s costs.

But less than three weeks later, 25-year-old Donaldson reposted a four-month-old video to X, promising to share how much revenue it would create on the site after one week.

Although potentially a win for Musk if able to demonstrate that his site really could be a leading video platform, the stakes were high: a public litmus test of X’s ability to disrupt the video streaming sector.

While Donaldson said it would cost “millions” to cover his production overheads, the revenue created from the week-long post on X was $263,655, he revealed on Monday.

And while a quarter of a million dollars would be career-defining moment for many creators, Donaldson dismissed the cash a “bit of a facade.” He explained: “Advertisers saw the attention it was getting and bought ads on my video (I think) and thus my revenue per view is prob higher than what you’d experience.”

A screenshot of Donaldson’s analytics page shows his video had more than 156 million impressions and more than five million engagements. A breakdown of the revenue isn’t shown in the screenshot posted to X, but on its creator dashboard, X says users will be eligible to be paid up to 97% of the revenue X makes from the content. However, it adds this is after in-app purchase fees up to a threshold of $50,000 in lifetime earnings across all X products.

The inner workings of X’s content payment model is more complex than that, however, as further caveats are laid out in the subscriptions creator terms, reading. These factors include fees, taxes, the total number of subscribers, and more.

X adds creators must “understand this and should have no expectation that any particular revenue percentage or amount will apply, or continue to apply, over time.”

The six-figure sum won’t be in Donaldson’s bank account for long. Just five minutes after posting the advertising revenue figures the video creator pledged to give away $250,000 of the earnings.

He wrote: “I’m gonna give 10 random people that repost this and follow me $25,000 for fun (the $250,000 my X video made) I’ll pick the winners in 72 hours.”

Neither Donaldson nor X responded to Fortune’s request for comment.

Right to be wary

Donaldson’s open skepticism—and similar caution expressed by his followers online—may be justified, said Thomas Walters, Europe CEO and co-founder of global influencer agency, Billion Dollar Boy.

Walters points out that social media platforms have also been known to “heat” content from high-profile influencers and content such as MrBeast’s—algorithmically promote them to win higher viewing figures—to ensure strong engagement.

However the influencer expert—whose business has offices in London, New York, New Orleans and Bristol—said other influencers may be tempted to follow Donaldson despite knowing their success may not be as advantageous.

“Where MrBeast goes, others follow,” Walters told Fortune. “People latch onto everything that he says across the sphere, and people listen because in large what he says is accurate and true. If people follow his tips they can be assured of some form of success.”

However Walters added it’s unlikely that creators will look to be X-exclusive influencers. Creators often look to diversify which content platforms they’re on to ensure stability should one go awry or be subject to boycott.

“If you’ve put years of effort into one platform and revenue stream it can be quite a difficult career decision to be put in,” said Walters. “In some cases creators have their entire following on one platform and those are the creators that we feel for in all of this, who need to think about diversifying away from areas where they might be potentially compromised in the future.”

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