Elon Musk’s X to test livestream shopping in partnership with Paris Hilton

As Elon Musk’s X expands its efforts to become an “everything app,” the company formerly known as Twitter announced today it will run a livestream shopping event with media icon Paris Hilton. The feature will allow X users to watch a livestreamed video, chat with others and shop at the same time, as well as hang out in Spaces.

In Hilton’s related partnership announcement, she added “together we’re going to be exploring new ways to connect with all of you across video, live video, live shopping, and even Spaces. And we’re just getting started.”

The announcement did not indicate when the livestream event would kick off, or other details about what to expect, including even what products will be sold.

This is not the company’s first effort to make shopping a key feature on its platform.

Before its rebranding as X and Musk’s acquisition, Twitter had been exploring e-commerce initiatives, including the 2022 launch of mobile storefronts for merchants, then known as Twitter Shops, as well as features that allowed merchants to tease their upcoming product drops and send reminders to customers.

And shortly after Musk took ownership of X, the company announced a more significant move with its first test of its livestream shopping platform. Walmart was the debut partner to test out this initiative, where it kicked off a Cyber Deals live event on Twitter in November 2022, where users were able to watch a live broadcast, shop the featured products and join the conversation around the event by tweeting.

The technology infrastructure for livestream shopping had been built in the pre-Musk era of Twitter, but now the emphasis is shifting away from retailers and merchants and more toward creators, it appears. The X partnership is actually with Hilton’s media company 11:11, noted X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who posted on X that the deal will “create a launchpad for new initiatives in video and live video, live commerce, Spaces, and so much more.”

After Musk’s takeover of the network, livestream shopping and other Twitter projects sat on the back burner as the team focused on shaking things up at the company by launching paid verification through what used to be known as Twitter Blue, in addition to making other policy changes, including those that targeted creators, which X now aims to better court through higher payouts.

However, over the past few days, X has revisited its livestreaming initiatives. On Thursday of last week, Musk took it upon himself to test the platform’s capabilities by livestreaming himself from the U.S.-Mexico border, where he made statements about needing a Trump-style wall and stronger security measures. Unfortunately, the livestream crashed, prompting Musk to email everyone at X with a note to “Please fix this.”

Musk also recently tested livestreamed gaming through an alt account.

Given the infrastructure’s failure only days ago, it’s unclear how well it will hold up for a Paris Hilton livestream, given she has 16.6 million followers on X. Of course, that’s far fewer than Elon Musk’s 158.6 million, so the system won’t be under the same amount of stress.

The news of the Hilton deal follows statements Musk has made about his plans for X to innovate beyond being only a microblogging site to instead be a place that caters to creators and allows them to monetize their fan bases.

To that end, the company opened up an ad revenue-sharing program for creators, which has already paid out nearly $20 million, according to recent statements from X CEO Linda Yaccarino. The company has also been reinvesting in video, having added support for two-hour videos this past spring. X advertiser Apple used the feature to stream an entire episode of its Apple TV+ show “Silo.” Musk also recently touted the viewership of canned Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show on X, though further analysis indicated Musk inflated the view count.

As for e-commerce, it remains unclear whether consumers want to shop on X — or on social media, in general, for that matter. Meta shut down its own live shopping feature on October 1st, after earlier sunsetting the option on Instagram. But in more recent months, TikTok has been expanding its live shopping efforts, including with a U.S. launch just last month. Given X’s new developments, it’s clear the company still believes there’s potential in live shopping.