Twitter Takeover: Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Bet

Just over a year ago, the tech world was rocked by the news of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, one of the most influential social media platforms globally. Musk’s visionary approach and track record of innovation left many wondering how Twitter, a platform known for its concise communication and real-time updates, would evolve under his leadership. Fast forward to the present, and the transformation of Twitter has been nothing short of remarkable.

Let’s begin by stating the obvious: Twitter is now “X”, and our beloved bird has now been replaced by a sleek letter — cute, but I’m still making up my mind on it.

One of the most notable additions to Twitter since Musk’s takeover is Twitter Blue, a subscription-based service aimed at providing users with exclusive features and enhanced functionality. Launched in mid-2023, Twitter Blue (X Premium) offers subscribers a range of benefits designed to enrich their Twitter experience. In summary, Twitter’s subscription model offers three tiers of service:

  1. Basic: This tier includes essential features such as the ability to edit posts, longer posts and video uploads, reply prioritization, text formatting, bookmark folders, and custom app icons.
  1. Premium: Building upon the Basic tier, Premium offers additional benefits including a verified checkmark, reduced ads, eligibility to apply for ad revenue sharing and creator subscriptions, larger reply prioritization, ID verification, access to Media Studio, and more.
  1. Premium+: The highest tier, Premium+, encompasses all Premium features along with exclusive perks like no ads in the For You and Following timelines, the largest reply prioritization, and access to Grok, a feature currently limited to Premium+ subscribers in select territories.

However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the billionaire  CEO. In a move that surprised many (and was heavily criticised by some), X announced the discontinuation of Twitter Circles, a feature introduced in 2022 to facilitate private posts by users. Circles allowed users to create exclusive groups and share tweets, media, and messages within these closed circles. Musk’s decision to sunset Twitter Circles reflects a strategic shift towards streamlining Twitter’s core functionalities and focusing on initiatives with broader appeal and scalability.

Since Musk assumed control, there has been a notable shift in the content visible on X. Starting in January, the platform initiated a default feed displaying suggested content and topics to users. In essence, this implies that users now face increased exposure to posts they may find unappealing. Also, Musk’s strategies have involved reinstating banned accounts, including that of Donald Trump, reducing the size of X’s content moderation team as a cost-cutting measure, and dissolving an advisory committee aimed at tackling issues like hate speech.

Instead, X has increasingly relied on voluntary fact-checkers who annotate questionable posts with Community Notes.

The introduction of the option to buy a verified badge, granting individuals higher visibility on feeds and replies, has complicated the task of discerning genuine content from misinformation. Additionally, the recent surge in AI-generated images and deepfake videos further muddles the landscape for ordinary users.

As X continues to evolve under Elon Musk’s stewardship, the platform’s future appears bright with promise and innovation, but the true impact of Elon Musk’s leadership on X’s future is yet to bear fruit. One can only hope that he steers us into a safe, yet innovative direction.

About the Author: With chai and Google Docs as trusted companions, Abrish Nayyar has honed the art of weaving stories, fueled by late-night inspiration and the mundane world. Aspiring to one day be a published author, to her, every article is an inch closer to that goal.