Over 17 years ago, Twitter was introduced to the world with a tweet from co-founder Jack Dorsey, “Just setting up my twttr,” and has since remained one of the most popular social networking apps on the planet.
Elon Musk made a statement declaring he would buy Twitter and make it an “everything” app. Following these conversations with Twitter executives about purchasing the app for $44 billion, he backed out of the idea. Once pulling out, Twitter took Elon to trial for lack of follow-through on the agreements. Since the suit, Musk was forced to carry on with the purchasing process.
To pay for Twitter, Musk sold stock from his other investments. According to Forbes, Musk had sold over $22.9 billion worth of Tesla stock from April to November of 2022. Towards the end of the year 2022, just two months after Elon had purchased the Twitter app, Tesla had dropped 45% in the stock market.
Following Musk’s purchase in October 2022, the app has undergone many changes. Subsequently due to the changes, the app has lost the majority of its worth and many users are jumping ship.
The iconic Twitter bird has passed as Musk announced his newest plans. He renamed the app “X” in July, 2023. Following the name change, Musk said that the letter X “embodies the imperfections in us all that make us unique.”
According to Musk on X, the app has lost marketing value—a 50% drop in advertising revenue. Brand Finances estimates that the brand lost 32% of its marketing value since last year. As the view of X’s brand has changed, advertisers have fled. After Musk invested around $44 billion into X he now says it could be worth “just $4 billion,” losing 90% of its value according to The New York Times.
The loss that X has been taking is largely due to the number of changes made on the site. There have been many measures to keep the app afloat.
Musk had begun a Twitter Blue subscription—now renamed X premium—for users on the app. The subscription would give patrons more privileges than regular users. With the subscription, users can acquire verification checks, prioritized ranking in conversations, twice as many posts between ads and the ability to post longer videos and tweets with bold and italicized texts. All for the price of $11/month.
Verifications have lost their original meaning and credibility. The obtainability of a verification for individuals with $11/month to buy a checkmark causes the symbol to lose mystique and status.
Other apps have followed this subscription path as Instagram now allows users to pay for verification on their site. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg rolled out this new subscription plan for their services on Instagram and Facebook. Currently users can obtain verification with a government-issued ID and $14.99 per month. Unlike Musk, Zuckerberg allows users who have already been verified to remain verified without any fees. As other apps had created similar systems, Musk continues to frequently make changes to the program.
Another change consists of the app reporting all tweets as “From Earth” instead of the usual tweet locations from an iPhone or Android phone.
Musk even attempted to create a maximum number of tweets read per day from X users. All over the app, people who didn’t purchase the X premium subscription would see “rate limit exceeded” after looking at over 600 tweets in a singular day. X premium subscribers were allowed around 6000 tweets per day. After the warning displayed, users were not allowed to view any more tweets for that 24-hour period. This idea was thrown out after app users expressed their outrage. Musk stated that the limit exceeded on tweets were only a temporary measure and encouraged users to return.
Just a few days after users swore to be leaving the X app, Zuckerberg came up with a very similar program to X called Threads, which launched on July 5, 2023.
As adjustments for this app are still in progress, the chaotic control of Musk has certainly been a show for regular app users. Whatever Musk’s ultimate plans are, he clearly isn’t quite yet finished on the X project.