How’d we get here?
On April 4th, 2022, we learned that Musk had purchased enough shares of Twitter to become its largest individual shareholder. Eventually, he followed up with an unsolicited offer to buy 100 percent of Twitter’s shares for $54.20 each, or about $44 billion. Twitter accepted Musk’s offer, but then things got weird because he tried to cancel the deal.
There was a lot of back-and-forth about bots and text messages, but in the end, Musk settled on buying the company rather than facing a deposition or Chancery Court trial and eventually strode into Twitter HQ carrying a sink.
Since then, there have been layoffs, more layoffs, and even more layoffs — plus drama over Substack, unpaid bills, and blue checkmarks. With ad revenue still down from previous years, Elon finally abdicated the role of CEO in May 2023, installing longtime NBCUniversal ad executive Linda Yaccarino.
Read on for the latest updates about what’s going on inside Twitter right now.
- Elon Musk wants a second chance to fail at X
- Elon Musk’s extravagant ‘X’ sign atop the former Twitter HQ has been dismantled
- For Elon Musk, X equals everything
- Twitter alternatives for the Musk-averse
- Why Instagram is taking on Twitter with Threads
- Twitter’s ‘new’ TweetDeck lives behind a verified paywall
- So where are we all supposed to go now?
I understand the driving need to prove to people that you are right, which is why I am to some degree sympathetic to Elon Musk’s ill-advised plan to rename Twitter and turn it into his long-dreamed-of financial heavyweight. He wasn’t right when he tried to rename PayPal in 2000 and create an internet upstart in banking; he’s not right now, either. But that isn’t going to stop him from trying to Show Us.Read Article >
Musk says he wants to rename Twitter X, and the Twitter logo has already changed on the app to a Unicode X. There’s some history here with Musk and X: when Peter Thiel defenestrated him from PayPal, it was because Musk wanted to rename PayPal. You are never going to guess what he wanted to change the name to.
Sep 29Why isn’t X on Linda Yaccarino’s home screen?
During her bizarre interview at the Code Conference yesterday, Yaccarino held up her iPhone to the audience while seemingly indicating that it was supposed to represent X. I was sitting near the front of the stage and squinting to try and see what was on it.
Thanks to the magic of video and this screengrab from my colleague Vjeran, we have the goods. X doesn’t appear to be on her home screen but, incredibly, Facebook and Instagram are. I also spot Signal — Elon Musk’s messaging app of choice — and the Holy Bible, which really is the original super app if you think about it. (Also, Settings in the dock? What are you doing, Linda!)
Sep 28Linda Yaccarino says she hasn’t seen Elon Musk’s “demon mode” described in Walter Isaacson’s book.
She mostly talked about the value of spirited debate, but did say this: “All I’m saying is that the the idea of the inability to have a debate or feedback, I haven’t experienced or I’ll say I haven’t experienced it yet.”
X is planning to shut down Circles, a feature that lets you share posts with a limited group of people instead of all of your followers. The company said in a “PSA” on Thursday that Circles will be disabled by October 31st.Read Article >
“After this date, you will not be able to create new posts that are limited to your Circle, nor will you be able to add people to your Circle,” X wrote in a post on its help center. “You will, however, be able to remove people from your Circle,” and the company gave instructions on how to do that.
If you add a Community Post to a post on X (formerly Twitter), X will tell you if the person who wrote the post deletes it, the company said on Friday.Read Article >
“Contributors consistently say their goal is to keep others well-informed,” X wrote on the Community Notes account. “This can happen when a helpful note appears on a post, and also when an erroneous post gets deleted. Starting today, writers will be notified when a post on which they wrote a note gets deleted.”
Sep 13Not a great look for Musk.
Seems like Musk may have made some bad decisions:
Multiple employees testified that Musk gave directives that were at odds with the company’s normal processes and policies, according to the filing.Musk may have violated FTC privacy order, new court filing shows
[The Washington Post]
X really wants you to forget about Twitter — and that includes in its terms of service. Users are starting to see pop-ups about new terms that go into effect on September 29th, and one adjustment is two instances of “retweet” (the only use of “tweet” in the current terms) to “repost,” essentially putting the final stamp in the death of the word tweet.Read Article >
There are a bunch of other branding changes in the new terms, including a nearly wholesale removal of the word “Twitter” in favor of X. I say nearly wholesale because, hilariously, many of the URLs included in the terms still seemingly have to include the word “twitter,” like in this link to a developer-focused website: https://developer.x.com/en/docs/twitter-for-websites. There have been some hints that X wants to fully switch over to URLs starring X, but it seems Twitter will hang around in some capacity. (It’s worth noting that X.com still redirects to twitter.com.) References to Periscope, Twitter’s live streaming app it shut down in 2021, have been removed as well.
This might finally be the end of the hurricane street shark phenomenon. X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, updated its crowdsourced fact-checking Community Notes feature to tag videos directly and automatically populate those notes onto any matching videos. The same tagging was recently added to images with Community Notes, and last week, the platform added the ability to see the number of matching images that apply to each fact-check. Now, approved Community Notes will automatically show up every time a flagged video is posted or reshared.Read Article >
According to a post on the tool’s X account, a select group of Community Notes power users, known as “Top Writers” (if you have to ask what that is, you’re probably not a part of the club), can now submit added context to potentially misleading video content. The platform said this is a “highly-scalable way” to add additional context to AI-generated videos and misleading video edits.
I see Elon Musk has pivoted from pretending he’s going to physically fight Mark Zuckerberg to pretending he is going to sue the Anti-Defamation League. Okay. There are people who still take Musk seriously, and I wish them well on their journey. This blog is for the rest of us.Read Article >
Obviously, there’s a level of attention-seeking behavior at play. Some of this is financially motivated: Musk is perhaps the most important influencer in the world. His tweets move markets. And he faces the same problem as other influencers. The danger of being too famous is overexposure — people get sick of you.
When Elon Musk livestreamed a drive through Palo Alto, California on Friday afternoon, he was holding his phone — which is plainly and clearly illegal under California law. But the Palo Alto Police Department won’t be issuing a fine, it tells The Verge, because police didn’t witness the crime themselves.Read Article >
“Had an officer observed the driver with the phone in their hand, they could have issued the driver an infraction ticket for violating California’s handsfree law,” writes Palo Alto PD Captain James Reifschneider.
Aug 28Just how many times did Musk tell on himself in one video?
In addition to nearly running a red light, doxxing Zuck, and flouting Tesla’s own driver-assist rules, Elon Musk probably broke the law.
Did you know it’s illegal in California to hold and operate a phone while driving? The fine starts at $20, but if you do it twice in three years, you get a point on your license too. We’ve asked Palo Alto PD what they’ll do with the evidence Musk uploaded.
Aug 25X hopes you’ll find your next job on the platform.
The company announced “early access to the X Hiring Beta” that’s available to Verified Organizations (aka gold checks that pay X / Twitter at least $1,000 per month for the privilege). Organizations that use it can feature job listings on their X profiles — you can see how it works on Vercel’s profile.
It’s not quite a LinkedIn killer, but it’s a step in the direction of Elon Musk’s vision of making X an “everything app.”
Donald Trump has made his return to X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.Read Article >
On Thursday, the former president turned himself in at the Fulton County jail on over a dozen charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. Over the last five months, Trump has faced criminal charges in four separate cases, but the most recent booking was the first and only time his mugshot was taken. He took the opportunity to make his first post on X since January 8th, 2021.
Aug 23Elon Musk says news organizations can get a share of X’s advertising revenue, too.
The post seems to be part of Musk’s latest campaign to encourage writers and journalists to post more on the platform. News organizations may not be as interested if X actually goes through with removing headlines from links to news articles, though.
X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, is testing stripping headlines from articles shared on the site. The move was initially reported by Fortune, before X owner Elon Musk confirmed it directly. Posts would only include the lead image and the URL, unless the person or publisher posting the link adds their own text, per materials the outlet viewed.Read Article >
The image would still serve as a link to the article, but there's no word on a timetable to roll it out or confirmation that it will ship at all. “It’s something Elon wants,” a source is quoted as saying, “They were running it by advertisers, who didn’t like it, but it’s happening.”
Over the weekend, word spread about a problem affecting old tweets, and eventually, we narrowed it down to anything posted before December 2014, either with an image or a link that had been shortened by Twitter. A post by Tom Coates alerted many people to the problem and he noted that a 2014 Ellen DeGeneres selfie from the Oscars that took the crown as “most retweeted ever” was even missing its image.Read Article >
Now the @Support account at X, the company formerly known as Twitter until Elon Musk rebranded it, says, “Over the weekend we had a bug that prevented us from displaying images from before 2014. No images or data were lost. We fixed the bug, and the issue will be fully resolved in the coming days.”
Aug 20Here’s what data analysis says about Elon Musk’s followers on X.
Matt Binder of Mashable offers an analysis of data collected on basic account information from all the X accounts that follow Musk. Here are some stats from the article:
• About 42 percent (65.3 million) have no followers.
• About 41 percent (62.5 million) have no tweets (either because they have never tweeted, or have deleted their tweets).
• Over 25 percent (38.9 million) created their accounts on or after the date of Musk’s Twitter acquisition.
• The median number of followers of all of the accounts is one.
X, which was formerly known as Twitter until its recent rebranding, is having a problem displaying old posts that came with images attached or any hyperlinks converted through Twitter’s built-in URL shortener. It’s unclear when the problem started, but it was highlighted on Saturday afternoon in a post by Tom Coates, and a Brazilian vtuber, @DaniloTakagi, had pointed it out a couple of days earlier.Read Article >
As it is, it appears to affect tweets published prior to December 2014, judging by posts visible on my own account. No videos are affected (Twitter only added native image support in 2011 and built-in videos in 2016), but links to YouTube, for example, are now just text with a t.co URL that doesn’t work.
- X appears to be working on an ID verification system.
If you really want to extra verify yourself, I guess that’s coming. Let’s hope it’s not a system that’s only available to X Premium subscribers, but since you already have to pay to be verified, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case.
- They’re really not called tweets anymore.
Friend of The Verge Cameron Faulkner showed me today that retweets are now called “reposts,” and as my colleague Alex Cranz wrote about recently, the old tweet button now says “post.”
I might be a bit late in noticing the changes, but I’m sad to see that the term “tweets” is pretty much gone from X. At least the official term wasn’t actually “x’s.”
X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, appears to be finally following through on its promise to make TweetDeck a paid service. Many users on X, including social media consultant Matt Navarra, say that they’re seeing a sales page for X Premium (the subscription formerly Twitter Blue) when they try to load up TweetDeck, which is technically now called XPro.Read Article >
A few of us at The Verge haven’t run into the block yet, but given how many people are saying that they can’t access XPro unless they pay, we’re guessing it’s only a matter of time.
If you recently clicked a link shared by The New York Times on X (formerly Twitter), you might have noticed that the page took a little longer to load than you would have expected. It wasn’t just the Times; according to an analysis by The Washington Post, links posted to X that point to the Times, Reuters, Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky, and Substack took about five seconds to actually load.Read Article >
While I was writing this article, X seemed to fix the issue, and the sites are loading as expected from the platform. According to a post on Hacker News, the delay was put in place for The New York Times on August 4th. The user said that the delays appeared to involve Twitter’s t.co link shortener and also affected Meta’s Threads.
The Twitter Blue — pardon me — X Premium Ads Revenue Sharing payouts that were supposed to roll out last week have been delivered, as the @Support account posted the news Monday night. Asked about the delay, X employee Eric Farraro said the late Friday announcement of a delay came only once the company was sure payments would not go out.Read Article >
As for future rounds, he wrote, “We’ve done payouts to a much smaller number of creators before, but scaling to thousands of creators adds new challenges in terms of engineering, operations, and support. Having completed the initial wave of payouts yesterday, repeating that process is an easier task.”