Exploring the recent Twitter rebranding by Elon Musk and its implications for the platform and beyond.

Elon Musk has been a prominent figure, both on television and social media, for many years, being the famous entrepreneur behind Tesla, SpaceX, and many other ventures. His tweets, in particular, have always sparked market movements and have been a reason of public debate at large. In a move that shocked the world in 2022, he announced the acquisition of Twitter, a very popular social media platform.

Musk’s purchase of Twitter marks a significant point in the landscape of social media as he has always been the one to come up with unparalleled ideas and ambitions in his pursuits. Musk is now aiming to redefine the platform and how people interact with each other online. Read this article to find out about the significant transformations the platform has undergone ever since this acquisition and the concerns being raised on the future of free speech, privacy, and corporate influence on Social Media.

Public Reaction to the acquisition of Twitter

The acquisition of Twitter had the users in both shock and excitement from all around the world. On one end of the spectrum, the unparalleled track record as a visionary and a disruption maker suggested that he could breathe a new life and direction to the platform with new features and functionalities. While on the other end of the spectrum, serious concerns were being raised as to the control of such a powerful platform at the hands of one individual and the potential for manipulation and censorship.

Rebranding to ‘X’

The bravest change to the platform has been the rebranding of the platform from Twitter to ‘X’. This move is brave because it bids farewell to the ever present iconic blue bird of twitter which was the sole essence of the platform since 2008. This rebranding met with serious speculations to a host of massive changes to the platform with some analysts hinting towards an era of innovation whereas others seeing it as a move to alter the orientation of the platform and reposition it towards success in another direction.

In addition to the rebranding, there has been multiple changes to the platform to enhance user experience and address long-standing issues. The changes encompass many security concerns, efforts to tackle misinformation and abuse, and the introduction of new features that allow users to foster a healthy and meaningful interaction in the ‘X’ community. The most notable changes are being mentioned here.

Layoffs and Mass Resignations

On November 4, 2022, the platform and Elon Must laid off a substantial workforce that resulted in its offices being temporarily closed. Elon Must explained that the layoffs were a cost-cutting measure as the company was losing over $4 Million per day[1].1 In April 2023, Musk told BBC that the platform reduced its workforce from 8000 to 1500. By March, 2023, the platform almost entirely laid off its communication team which is in-line with other businesses of Tech-entrepreneur[2].

Content Moderation

The platform evolved its content moderation whereby it deployed the crowdsourced moderation model where the users can report misleading tweets with “Community Notes” (also called Birdwatch) to combat misinformation on the platform. However, it has led to more misinformation and delayed fact-checking. According to a European Commission study[3], the disinformation was not only most prevalent but also received the most engagement as compared to other social media platforms which has led to increased hate-speech and misinformation on the platform.

Features and Subscriptions

Twitter removed the legacy blue checkmarks and authorized only the users that paid the subscription fee to have access to Twitter blue. The platform has given access to its blue users to be able to post longer tweets than the traditional 280 characters. Moreover, the subscribed users would be able to watch half as many ads as the non-subscribed ones.

The most exciting aspect to all of this is the monetization front where the company has started to give payout to the Blue users from the shares of its ad revenue. A space tab was also introduced for live spaces and podcasts which is only exclusively available to blue users. Blue users can also upload videos up to 60 minutes’ duration in 1080p resolution. Multi-colored checkmarks have been introduced by X Corp whereby normal subscribers get a blue, businesses a gold, and government officials a grey checkmark.

Among other tweaks is the easy access to bookmark option under tweets. The platform has also given out a ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ timeline for its users in an attempt to increase user engagement. There has been a dissolution of features like ‘Twitter Circles’ which were loved by many users and ‘Twitter fleets’ which were Twitter’s version of 24 hour stories.

Final Thoughts

The acquisition and rebranding of Twitter by Elon Musk as ‘X’ has been a tipping point in the history of social media. Musk has a non-conventional vision and ambition to reshape the platform and how people interact with each other. However, there are superstitions about the future of free speech, user privacy, and influence of corporations on the platform. So, a lot is yet to unfold in this saga of ‘X’.

As the platform introduces new features, it is important for users and regulators alike to monitor its evolution and ensure that the change is for good in the digital world. The platform has already been a source of debate and controversy among masses and it is certain that the world will be watching closely how the platform shapes under Elon’s leadership. It is crucial for ‘X’ to undergo a smoother transition as drastic changes are seldom successful in the world of social media.