July 23, 2024
Image of the Twitter app on a box that says handle with care, to demonstrate the fragility of the site

R.I.P Twitter Inc.

Josie Smith

Twitter Inc. no longer exists. As of April 4, 2023 the platform is no longer independent. Since Elon Musk took over as CEO and owner of Twitter, it has undergone several changes, the largest one being the merge of Twitter Inc. into Elon Musk’s X Corp. This is the end of Twitter Inc, though the site, for now, will remain Twitter in its name. The rapid and sweeping changes being made to the social media platform are causing users and employees to question the longevity of the site as they now know it.

 Eight days after Twitter Inc. was absorbed by X Corp, news broke announcing that National Public Radio has left Twitter. The broadcast station attributed this groundbreaking decision to the social media platform’s misrepresentation of NPR, by labeling it, without consent or consideration, a “U.S. government-affiliated media.” The label used by Twitter for NPR is not only inaccurate, demonstrating a lack of attentiveness on the part of Twitter, but it also it stood to threaten the reputation and independence of NPR, an organization that receives less than 5% of its funding from the U.S. government.  NPR’s chief of staff comments that actions such as this “are exceptionally harmful and set a dangerous precedent.” In the aftermath, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has announced an indefinite hiatus from the platform. The consistent, primarily negative attention on Twitter has the internet in a flurry as users worry about how these changes will affect their individual experience on the site.

The individual user experience has gone to the wayside in the process of altering the platform. Monetization and metrics have become Musk’s top priority. Before Musk was CEO, Twitter attributed blue check marks to notable individuals or established businesses, however, since his takeover, blue check marks cost $8 per month and are available to any individual willing to pay. Things like introducing public view counts, removing content moderation rules and changing verification processes have disrupted the flow of content on Twitter. Users rely on Twitter for entertainment, news updates and conversation. As the site steps away from being tailored to the individual users experience and towards the most profitable version of itself, these key aspects become harder to find.  The focus on monetization and metrics is supposedly in order to demonstrate the number of individuals on the app in a more accurate way than likes, comments and retweets, according to The New York Times.

The endgame of all of these changes is to utilize Twitter as a foundation for X, a not-yet-invented “everything app” that will be a worldwide social media platform used for everything from food orders to finding news to individual chatrooms. X will be based off of the Chinese app WeChat. Though little detail has been given, it has been made public that buying Twitter was the first step in Musk’s plan to create X, and there is speculation that he will scrap Twitter and use its bones for his everything app.  

https://youtu.be/b8aCd4pppKM On April 12, 2023 Musk spoke with the BBC regarding his struggle as Twitter’s CEO and his plans for its future. That same day, NPR announced departure from Twitter. CBS covers the convergence of these two events in this clip.

Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has become a distant cousin of what it once was, and in the wake of the news of X Corp., it is clear that users should expect it to continue to evolve farther from its origins. Only time will tell whether Musk’s $44 billion leap of faith will pay off into an everything app, or if it will crumble one of the largest social networking sites in the process.

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