The Transformation of Twitter: One Year into X’s Struggles with Misinformation, Declining Usage, and Advertising Woes

by Madison Thomas
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Transformation of Twitter to X

A year has passed since entrepreneur and new owner Elon Musk made his dramatic entrance into Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, sink in hand, dismissing the then-CEO and key executives. He subsequently undertook the rebranding and restructuring of the social media giant into what is now referred to as X.

Although X bears a superficial resemblance to its predecessor, Twitter, a deeper look reveals it as a mere shadow of its former self. Key elements that once defined Twitter, such as its iconic name, blue bird logo, and verification system, have all been overhauled or completely removed under Musk’s stewardship. Furthermore, the core workforce responsible for site maintenance, content moderation, and rule enforcement has been significantly reduced through layoffs and terminations.

Long-standing observers of the platform point out that X has lost its utility as a real-time news aggregator, casting doubt on Musk’s ambitious plan to convert it into a multi-functional application universally utilized by the public.

Analyst Jasmine Enberg from Insider Intelligence observes that Musk has made no significant strides in improving the platform or in coming any closer to his envisioned “everything app.” Instead, X has seen a decline in user engagement, advertising revenue, and its standing as a central news hub in the social media landscape.

Before acquiring the company, Musk was already an active and influential user on Twitter. However, the changes he implemented on X seem to be grounded primarily in his personal experiences and impressions of the platform. He even sought suggestions from his large follower base, who notably advised him to step down from management.

Enberg notes that Musk’s approach of treating the platform as a tech enterprise ripe for personal redesign—rather than as a community-driven social network sustained by advertising—has been the major contributing factor to its decline.

The platform’s previous verification system, symbolized by a blue checkmark to authenticate the identity of high-profile users, has been replaced with a paid subscription model. This alteration has led to an increase in misinformation spread by paid accounts, a fact substantiated by recent reports from nonprofit organizations like Media Matters. Even the European Commission has intervened, demanding information from X regarding its management of hate speech and misinformation.

Well-known foreign policy analyst Ian Bremmer has remarked that the level of disinformation promoted on X, particularly concerning the Israel-Hamas conflict, is unparalleled in his professional experience.

Financial instability has also plagued the platform. When Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022, the company was already in precarious financial health. Musk has since acknowledged a severe drop in advertising revenue and a mounting debt issue.

Efforts to resuscitate the platform’s advertising revenue, including the hiring of former NBC executive Linda Yaccarino, have met with limited success. Insider Intelligence projects that X will generate $1.89 billion in advertising revenue this year, a drastic 54% decline from 2022 levels.

Public engagement with X is waning as well, according to data from research firm Similarweb, which reports a year-over-year drop in global web traffic to the platform and its advertising portal.

In summary, Jasmine Enberg states, “The platform’s decline seems to be a result of self-inflicted wounds more than external factors. Its relevance in the social media world is eroding, and this can be likened to a ‘death by a thousand cuts.'”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Transformation of Twitter to X

What significant changes did Elon Musk implement after acquiring Twitter and transforming it into X?

After acquiring Twitter, Elon Musk introduced sweeping changes that redefined the platform, now known as X. Core elements like the name, blue bird logo, and the verification system were either altered or completely removed. The workforce was significantly downsized, impacting various functions such as site maintenance, content moderation, and rule enforcement.

How has the transformation affected X’s role as a news hub?

The transformation has led to a decline in X’s utility as a real-time news aggregator. Observers and analysts suggest that X has lost its standing as a central hub for news in the social media landscape, thereby diminishing its primary value proposition.

What has been the impact on advertising revenue since the transition to X?

The advertising revenue for X has seen a significant decline. Insider Intelligence estimates that the platform’s ad revenue will be $1.89 billion this year, a 54% reduction compared to 2022.

Has user engagement on the platform changed since its transformation?

Yes, user engagement has declined notably. According to research firm Similarweb, there has been a year-over-year drop in global web traffic to X and its advertising portal. Mobile performance has also suffered, with a decline of 17.8% in combined monthly active users for Apple’s iOS and Android platforms.

What challenges is X facing in terms of content moderation and misinformation?

X is grappling with a surge in misinformation and hate speech. The change in the verification system to a paid model has exacerbated the spread of false information. High-profile reports and formal requests for information from entities like the European Commission highlight the platform’s issues with content moderation.

What efforts have been made to improve X’s financial and advertising situation?

Elon Musk took the company private and has acknowledged the challenges related to advertising revenue and debt. In an effort to revive its advertising sector, X hired Linda Yaccarino, a former NBC executive with strong industry connections. However, these initiatives have yet to yield substantial results.

Has Elon Musk’s vision for X as an “everything app” been realized?

No, the vision to make X an “everything app” has not been realized. Analysts point out that despite Musk’s ambitious plans, there has been no meaningful progress toward achieving this goal.

How do experts interpret the decline of X?

Experts attribute the decline largely to self-inflicted wounds rather than external factors. The changes implemented have not only led to reduced user engagement and advertising revenue but have also distanced the platform from its original purpose and community-driven nature.

More about Transformation of Twitter to X

  • Elon Musk Acquires Twitter
  • Insider Intelligence Report on Social Media Trends
  • Similarweb’s Data on Web Traffic to X
  • Media Matters Report on Misinformation on X
  • European Commission’s Request for Information to X
  • Analysis by Ian Bremmer on X’s Role in Disinformation
  • Financial Overview of X After Going Private
  • Linda Yaccarino’s Appointment as an Executive at X

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