It’s far from perfect, but if you’re used to the days when Twitter was a surefire place to digest all sorts of breaking news, politics, celebrity gossip, or personal thoughts, it’s time to embrace the new reality. .
Twitter is becoming a degraded product.
In the four months since Elon Musk took over the company, the app experienced major glitches. For example, there were several hours last week when users around the world were unable to post Tweets, send messages, or follow new accounts. Like other social media networks, Twitter has always experienced periodic outages, but under Musk, the app’s unpredictability goes beyond technical issues. Musk’s insane decisions undermine the integrity of Twitter’s core product and alienate a wider audience.
As Platformer reported, Musk’s Super Bowl meltdown is one of the clearest signs of Twitter’s decline so far. Musk, apparently furious that his tweet about the Super Bowl got fewer views than President Biden’s, flew to Twitter’s headquarters and told engineers to change the algorithms underlying Twitter’s flagship product. and ordered his own tweets to appear higher than anyone else’s tweets. A Twitter user’s “For You” page. Musk’s cousin James Musk — now a full-time employee and internally reported as a “corrector type” — sent an urgent message at 2 a.m. to all qualified engineers for help. , the company tasked 80 engineers to manually tweak his Twitter infrastructure. A system for promoting Mr. Musk’s tweets.
Shortly after the change, many users began noticing their feeds being bombarded with Musk’s tweets. Mr. Musk seems to have acknowledged the phenomenon, Post a meme showing a woman Labeled “Elon tweets” and forced to give a bottle of milk to another woman labeled “Twitter” and then posted what Twitter was making. Algorithm “tuning”.
This episode shows that Twitter is becoming increasingly unreliable. The platform’s basic product design is tailored to the whims of Musk, a leader who seems to put his image and “free speech absolutist” ideology above business interests. increase.
A few examples: Musk, in the spirit of free speech that allows people to say almost anything they want on Twitter, has restored thousands of previously suspended user accounts, including those of neo-Nazis and QAnon. Did. It is the driving force behind the rise in hate speech on platforms, including a more than 200% increase in anti-black slurs against Musk since he took office until December 2022. was one of them, researchers told the New York Times. I suffered from harassment on the platform.
On the product side, Musk has rushed a project that has caused chaos on the platform. Musk’s best-known product, Twitter Blue, a paid version of an app that lets anyone purchase checkmark badges for verification, had a disastrous initial rollout. Musk, who has long attacked mainstream news outlets, framed Twitter Blue as a way to take away special privileges such as checkmarks that “elite” like journalists had on the platform unless they paid for it. . But a ill-conceived change to Twitter’s verification policy has led to a flood of spam into the platform as newly verified accounts use checkmarks to impersonate celebrities, including masks. The release was pulled back and he was delayed twice before finally being released in December.
Under Musk, Twitter also recently blocked third-party apps that improve user experience with apps like Tweetbot. Twitter has promised to provide developers with an improved paid version of its API, but Twitter’s abrupt cutoff of access soured relations with outside programmers who enriched the site with add-on apps. .
With Musk laying off or firing more than half of Twitter’s staff, there aren’t enough people left to clean up the mess. This includes teams that deal with fixing bugs, moderating content, and courting advertisers.
When Elon Musk first acquired Twitter, many were skeptical about the billionaire, but there was also optimism that Musk could turn the company around. Investors hoped Musk, a prolific and successful entrepreneur, would revive a company that was seen as unprofitable and underperforming its full business potential. A self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” Musk’s ideological supporters saw him as someone who could ease restrictions on Twitter and open it up to a wider range of speech.
Today, we see Musk’s potential to improve Twitter, both business and ideological, unrealized.
On the business side, Twitter’s main revenue line is in jeopardy as 500 high-profile advertisers have suspended spending on the platform since Musk took over. “Unprecedented” increase in hate speech on platforms. According to Reuters, Twitter’s top 30 advertisers cut their spending on Twitter by an average of 42% by the end of 2022 after Musk took over. His Musk’s solution to Twitter’s advertiser loss is to get more people to pay for her Twitter, but this doesn’t seem to be working so far. According to a recent report by Information, as of mid-January 2023, only about 180,000 users in the US paid for a Twitter subscription, which is less than 0.2% of his monthly active users. is.
Musk claimed in November that Twitter’s user base was the largest it’s ever been, but external data contradicts that claim. Twitter traffic was actually higher in March than it is today, and Twitter visitor growth was down year-over-year from 4.7% in November 2022, when Musk took office. In January 2023 it will be -2%.
Ideologically, Musk’s Twitter has repeatedly failed to meet the standards of free speech. It starts with Musk suspending comedians like Kathy Griffin (who made fun of him) and banning users from talking about Twitter’s competitors on the platform. Decentralized social network Mastodon (Musk backtracked on policy after a flood of criticism).
Even some popular figures who supported Musk on his free speech stance, like freelance journalist Barry Weiss, withdrew their support after Musk banned several high-profile journalists who criticized him. (Musk claimed journalists exposed him, which they denied.) In recent months, former Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey announced that he would succeed Musk in April. As a person, he runs Twitter, “Expanding the Light of Consciousness,” also changed his stance and began openly criticizing Musk’s leadership, including all his recent technical glitches.
The main groups of people who appear to be staunch supporters of the new Twitter are conservative figures and politicians. Musk pardons many frozen accounts of right-wing provocateurs and political leaders, including shock jockey Andrew Tate, Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green (R-GA) and former President Donald Trump Later, Musk achieved hero status in right-wing circles. , and drafted a Republican-led bill in his name that would require the Justice Department to disclose money spent on big tech companies. has received conservative praise for his work in The most notable is the “Twitter File”. US politicians and government agencies.
Even if Musk’s conservative fans liked the way he ran Twitter, it wouldn’t do much for them anymore if the app had issues and more users left the platform altogether. Nor is that the case with Musk, who needs a sound money-making app to pay off the roughly $13 billion he owes to his creditors.