Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men, recently made a colossal mistake. The deal in question? His $44 billion acquisition of the popular social media app Twitter. Say goodbye to fan accounts, secure jobs, and free speech – and hello to paywalls, mass firings, and random suspensions.
Recently, Twitter users have been panicking over Elon Musk’s newest experiment – a costly buy-off of the app’s ownership, complete with his own baffling “vision” for its future. So far, to put it bluntly, the deal has been a complete disaster. Apparently, Elon’s vision includes lost jobs, restricted speech, and annoying paywalls. Many users already jumped ship, with plenty more following. Is this the end of Twitter as we know it?
On April 25th, 2022, Twitter agreed to a tempting offer from Musk: for $54.20 a share, or 44 billion dollars, he would take over the company. Goals for this takeover included a new emphasis on free speech and an “unlocking” of the app’s full potential. For the next several months, however, Elon hedged on the deal, claiming that Twitter was full of fraudulent accounts. Reportedly, he wanted to fully investigate the app’s bot problem before completing his takeover.
Next, a whirlwind of drama: Twitter sued, Elon sued back, etc., etc. Essentially, by this point, tensions were high, and everyone severely disliked each other. Yikes!
Finally, on October 28th, Elon became the new king of Twitter. His first act on the throne? Cutting about half the company’s payroll and fire key executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal and policy director Vijaya Gadde.
On November 1st, Elon announced a service that’s still hotly debated over a month later: Twitter Blue.
Musk seems not to understand the fundamental idea of a blue checkmark. Verification occurs when an account surpasses a certain number of followers, proving its popularity and earning the blue checkmark as an official badge. However, with Twitter Blue, anyone can buy a checkmark, simultaneously taking away its power and providing a paywall to users who genuinely deserve the status. No one wants to pay eight dollars a month for a social media icon, and Musk’s billionaire title only proves he knows nothing about affordability.
Many users protested the feature, but Elon didn’t budge. He even tweeted out sayings like: “Trash me all day, but it’ll cost $8.” His attitude certainly didn’t make him many friends, and thus began the mass exodus from Twitter.
To read more about Twitter Blue, click here.
Elon’s activity on Twitter ranged from offensive to baffling, leading to real concerns about his managerial plans. Quickly after his takeover, advertisers began pulling out of their Twitter deals due to “uncertainty” over Elon’s strategy.
On November 6th, Elon said that impersonation accounts that didn’t specify they were parodies would be immediately suspended, with no warning at all. This may seem like a good idea on the surface, but many fun-loving users, such as fan accounts and joke accounts, may face permanent deletion.
Elon even admitted to his mistakes, saying that Twitter would do lots of “dumb things” before figuring out what works. While the honesty is nice, some say that Elon’s behavior gives off the impression of a clumsy child who doesn’t know how to handle his new toy.
On his personal account, Elon encourages heated political debate, scathing remarks, and overall dissent within the app. Twitter has always been a place of discourse, but this new takeover only fans the flames.
Understandably, the recent hostility and drama are a bit much for some users. Those who want to escape have retreated to the safety of other apps, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. Tumblr, in particular, noted an influx of users, namely fan accounts, teenagers/young adults, and artists.
Tumblr users had a bit of fun with the news, welcoming ex-Twitter users with purposefully cringe-worthy memes and heavy sarcasm. On the more serious side of things, users continue to warn newcomers that censorship and judgmental attitudes aren’t appreciated on their site. Some blogs are amused, while others are concerned, worrying that their previously safe space is about to be taken over by hot-headed Twitter accounts.
Tumblr HQ joined in on the fun, as they often do. Recently, they implemented a paywall of their own, offering double blue checkmarks for a one-time fee of eight dollars. What do these checkmarks do? Absolutely nothing. Except sometimes, when you’re least expecting it, they turn into a hoard of crabs that scuttle around your dashboard. Why not, right?
Ironically, this feature was much better received than Twitter Blue. Users jumped on the chance to get something that was pointless, fun, and a virtual middle finger to Elon Musk.
For all the discourse over whether Twitter is dying or not, no one quite knows for sure. It may continue to exist and thrive, but the types of people who use it will shift. It may go through a rough patch, and then get back on its feet. We’ll have to see!
Nothing lasts forever, though… and it’s possible that Twitter’s reign is coming to an end.
To read more, click here.