Elon Musk's Twitter Revolution: A Look at the Ways He's Changing the Game

Here are five ways Elon Musk has changed Twitter for its users

Elon Musk stormed into Twitter’s San Francisco offices three months ago, and the firm has been in the news since.

We’ve spent much time discussing his thoughts on the social network and his more controversial business actions, like laying off half the staff. Still, less time discussing how the 237 million MAUs utilize the platform daily.

Preventing access to Twitter using other means

The most recent shift is Twitter disabling its application programming interface (API), the means through which other platforms interact with it. It’s possible that Twitter isn’t compatible with the social media manager you’re using to check your feed instead of the official Twitter app or website.

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There is debate amongst specialists as to whether or not the action was intentional.

Tech commentator Kate Bevan hypothesized that this was because third-party apps did not display advertisements and gave users more control over their feeds, both of which went against Musk’s plans to increase the visibility of ads and provide preferential treatment to tweets from Twitter Blue subscribers.

Even though Twitter hasn’t released an official statement on the matter, popular programs like Tweetbot, Fenix, and Twitterific are having trouble.

Curation

The timeline’s chronological sequence is probably the most noticeable alteration. You can peruse the most recent tweets from your followers and Twitter’s suggestions in a new window.

If you’re using an iPhone, the platform automatically sorts your content into two columns: “for you” and “following.” If you’re using an Android device, you’ll need to tap the star icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

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The issue is that many people aren’t aware that the app occasionally reverts to Twitter’s “for you” feed, which Twitter carefully curates for each user. There have been gripes that this feed is dominated by Twitter’s suggestions and conversations between individuals you follow and those you don’t know rather than the information you actively seek.

Some people dislike it, while others find it enjoyable: “Some days I want to go to a restaurant with just my buddies, some days I’ll pitch up at the bar and see who’s in…can be fun,” one Twitter user said.

Controversial accounts reinstated

Mr. Musk began with several prominent accounts suspended under the last administration for breaking Twitter’s rules. Former US president Donald Trump’s tweets were blamed for inciting the Capitol Hill riots in January 2021, and rapper Kanye West (Ye) was banned for spreading antisemitic posts. Influencer Andrew Tate is presently detained in Romania on charges of people trafficking.

Twitter Blue

Twitter’s paid tier, Twitter Blue, finally launched at the end of November after some delays. You can get an edit button, more views, and fewer advertisements for $8 or $11 per month (£6.50 or £9). Although, as usual, no official word has been made public regarding its success, anecdotally, it appears to have drawn a decent number of subscribers but not loads.

Ticks made of silver and gold

Once only given to verified accounts, Twitter’s “blue tick” now indicates membership. As a way to show that the reports of some celebrities, journalists, and corporations were authentic, Twitter gave out this badge.

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A statement explaining that the blue tick is a “legacy” and “may or may not be notable” has been added to the profiles of those who received one under the previous administration. It’s important to remember that a blue checkmark next to a user’s name isn’t necessarily a seal of approval.

Brands and government officials now have a gold or silver badge to indicate their legitimacy; for example, Coca-Cola is now gold and an explanatory notes that the company is an “official business,” while the account of Rishi Sunak, the UK prime minister, is now badged with a silver emblem.

“Master of Spin,”

The truth is that Twitter would have evolved even without Mr. Musk’s involvement. While competing social networks increased at an unprecedented rate, their user base and ad revenue remained stagnant. Twitter has gained notoriety for its small size and outsized impact, but this has yet to translate into financial success.

According to social media guru Matt Navarra, Mr. Musk is “a master of PR and spin and innovation and originality.” When it comes to breaking the rules, he has no fear. He claims that the company lost $4 million every day before he took over, but his new strategies may turn things around.

Twitter is secretive about its stats, so it’s hard to determine. Since it is now privately held, it has every right to operate as such.

However, advertisers aren’t flocking to the site, users are concerned about the changes to how their accounts are shown, and the recent API update has angered developers, a community Twitter needs on its side to expand.

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Mr. Navarra, speaking from his experience as a user interacting with 150,000 followers, said, “The mood seems to have evolved, and it doesn’t seem to be quite what it was before.”

There are no new Twitter-like developments that I can see.

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