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The entire story of Twitter / X under Elon Musk

Elon Musk bought Twitter, and now he’s rebranding it as X. Signs have gone up (and back down), icons are changing, and an old plan is new.

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.

  • The latest ‘Woj bomb’ was just a scam NFT tweet from a hacked account

    A greyscale image of the fake tweet, with the word “hacked” across it in red text.
    The fake NBA Top Shot tweet.
    Image: X / @wojespn

    People who still use NBA Top Shot were the primary targets of a scam tweet posted to ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski’s account on X Saturday evening at about 6:30PM ET. The tweet referred to NBA Top Shot as a “popular” NFT platform, despite the fact that current activity levels are a tiny fraction of what we saw during its peak, and falsely claimed a “free NFT pack is available to all customers.”

    The tweet linked visitors to a scam version of the NBA Top Shot website (the link went to a .org address instead of the official site’s .com URL) that could attempt to drain assets from people who give it access to their crypto wallets. About a half hour later, the official Top Shot account posted, saying, “There is NO Free Airdrop happening on NBA Top Shot at this time, Please be careful and always double check links.”

    Read Article >
  • X restores Yulia Navalnaya’s account after briefly suspending it.

    Yulia accused Vladimir Putin of killing her husband, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and vowed to continue her husband’s fight against Putin’s “crazy regime.” Then, on Tuesday morning, her X account was abruptly suspended for a short time.

    A message from the @Support account followed up saying, “Our platform’s defense mechanism against manipulation and spam mistakenly flagged @yulia_navalnaya as violating our rules. We unsuspended the account as soon as we became aware of the error, and will be updating the defense.”

  • One of the last ways to access Twitter without an account is dead.

    Nitter, the open-source, tracker-free Twitter front end, joins the other great third-party apps in the API afterlife.

    Activist IT collective NoLog, which ran one of the largest Nitter instances, has shut it down, three weeks after Nitter’s developer said the project was dead.

  • X will allow advertisers to only run ads on selected profiles.

    Elon Musk’s revamped X ad business has included a “revenue sharing” program that requires payment to have the potential of getting paid and shown ads alongside white nationalist profiles.

    X, as it attempts to become a YouTube alternative, says it has over 80,000 creators monetizing their posts and is trying to address brand safety issues with Creator Targeting:

    This means giving advertisers more control to be able to use the self-serve X Ads Manager to run pre-roll video ads against the video content of their chosen creator(s) in both the home timeline and profile.

    Soon we’ll add the ability to serve ads only on an individual creator’s profile – completely eliminating the unlikely event of unwanted adjacencies while aligning your brand to creators you love most. 

    It didn’t say how big of a cut creators will get if their profile is targeted or if they can choose which advertisers are shown.

  • As the Super Bowl rolls into Las Vegas, X cuts a deal to advertise gambling odds.

    Besides its arrangement for weekly 5-minute WWE matches, X is partnering with BetMGM to slap gambling odds at the top of event pages for sporting events, starting with the Super Bowl.

    The platform formerly known as Twitter is far from the only one suddenly flooded with odds and gambling promos (see ESPN Bet). A recent 60 Minutes report dug into how the services use data to target when someone’s most likely to place a bet.

    A screenshot of the X event page for the Super Bowl that prominently displays gambling infor linked to BetMGM.
    The Super Bowl event page inside the X app with betting odds above tweets.
    Image: Screenshot by Richard Lawler
  • Wes Davis

    Jan 28

    Wes Davis

    X plans to create a content moderation ‘headquarters’ in Austin

    An image showing the X logo superimposed on the Twitter logo
    Image: The Verge

    X says it will hire 100 full-time employees for a new trust and safety office in Austin, Texas, according to a Saturday report by Bloomberg. The plan comes, as the article notes, just a few days before CEO Linda Yaccarino’s scheduled January 31st hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding X’s handling of child sexual exploitation moderation.

    The team would reportedly focus mainly on CSE and would be the first proper trust and safety team since Elon Musk gutted it shortly after purchasing the platform formerly known as Twitter. X updated a blog post about its CSE moderation approach to mention the new office yesterday, as well, though it doesn’t reveal what the new team will be doing, nor when the office will open.

    Read Article >
  • The X iPhone app added passwordless logins with passkeys

    An image showing the X logo
    Illustration: The Verge

    X is now supporting passkey log-ins on iPhones and iPads, granting members access to the security feature regardless of their “Premium” status. Generating a passkey for X allows users to completely skip entering a password when they log in to their accounts and instead rely on the device’s security (with Face ID, Touch ID, or your device’s passcode). 

    For now, passkeys are only available in the US, and X hasn’t revealed when it’s rolling out the login technology on Android, for desktop operating systems, or in other countries. Also, X’s rollout of passkeys doesn’t seem to be complete yet (some users reported still not having access as of Tuesday night on the East Coast), so don’t fret if the feature hasn’t popped up yet.

    Read Article >
  • Why Elon Musk needs MrBeast

    The MrBeast video that was crossposted to X.

    Exactly how much money can you make by uploading a video to X? The going assumption has been that X — like Twitter before it — is a poor platform for video creators that can’t compete with YouTube and TikTok in terms of monetization and reach. So there’s been a lot riding on the results of a recent test by MrBeast, who aimed to see whether he could actually make money on Elon Musk’s platform.

    Last week, MrBeast, real name Jimmy Donaldson, posted a video to Musk’s platform with the explicit goal of seeing “how much ad revenue a video on X would make.” Musk had previously encouraged MrBeast to post to X, and he sent out an excited message shortly after the test went up. “First MrBeast video posted directly on 𝕏!” Musk wrote. Now, a week later, Donaldson has shared data on how his first video performed: it made around $260,000 across more than 150 million views.

    Read Article >
  • Elon Musk is uncomfortable with the amount of control Elon Musk has over Tesla.

    The Tesla CEO and X CTO / owner writes that “I am uncomfortable growing Tesla to be a leader in AI & robotics without having ~25% voting control,” and proposed building products (like Grok?) outside of Tesla instead.

    Musk’s stake in the company reportedly dropped to 13.4 percent in 2022 as he sold shares and acquired X, then known as Twitter. Now there’s this statement, a recent WSJ report citing concerns about drug use, and... Tesla’s Q4 earnings report coming up on January 24th.

    “I am uncomfortable growing Tesla to be a leader in AI & robotics without ~25% control. Enough to be influential, but not so much I can’t be overturned. Unless that is the case, I would prefer to build products outside of Tesla. You don’t seem to understand Tesla is not one startup, but a dozen. Simply look at the delta between what Tesla does and GM.  As for stock ownership itself being enough motivation, Fidelity and other own similar stakes. Why don’t they show up for work?”
    Image: @elonmusk (X)
  • Wes Davis

    Jan 10

    Wes Davis

    X says charges were dropped against a student who posted about free food.

    X’s news account claimed responsibility for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne having “rescinded its disciplinary action against Juan David Campolargo,” a student who had gotten in trouble for an account that pointed to events on campus that had free food available.

    The low-stakes case was the first apparent instance of the site defending a user in trouble for their posts. The Verge has reached out to the university for confirmation.

  • Emma Roth

    Jan 10

    Emma Roth

    Even X is giving up on NFTs.

    The Elon Musk-owned platform quietly removed the option for Premium subscribers to use NFTs as their profile pictures, as spotted earlier by TechCrunch. X also scrubbed all mention of NFT profile pictures from its support page.

    This comes a little less than one year after Meta ended tests that let users share NFTs on Instagram and Facebook.

  • X is still promising peer to peer payments in 2024.

    X CEO and former award-winning DEI executive Linda Yaccarino is promoting the company’s 2024 plans for AI and Grok, as well as the “video first” experience that included so many unauthorized Super Mario Bros. Movie streams.

    Upcoming features mentioned include a “see dissimilar posts” option, as well as payments. The latter is something Elon mentioned when he took over the company, and, as Liz Lopatto explains, has been a pursuit of his for much longer than that.

  • X once again removes headlines from article links.

    That sentence may look familiar! Headlines were added back on the web yesterday, but this morning, I noticed they were gone.

    X owner Elon Musk said in November that titles would appear over URL cards “in an upcoming release;” hopefully they officially roll out soon.

  • Maybe $1,000 per month was too expensive.

    X (formerly Twitter) now has a “basic” tier for Verified Organizations, which gets you a gold checkmark badge (and a few other benefits) for $200 per month instead of $1,000 per month for “full access.”

    While X claims this new tier is “designed for smaller businesses,” the more affordable plan is perhaps an admission that not enough businesses are paying for the more expensive plan.

  • X once again adds headlines to article links — but with tiny text

    Twitter’s “X” logo on a purple and blue background
    Illustration: The Verge

    Update January 3rd, 12:35PM ET: X has reverted this change on the web, so it seems the full headlines aren’t rolling out widely just yet. Our original article follows.

    After removing headlines from URL cards on X (formerly Twitter), the platform is adding them back — but they don’t work quite the same as before. Some of us at The Verge are seeing on the web that headlines and website title pages are now appearing over the images that link to those pages, which makes it a lot easier to know what you’re clicking on.

    Read Article >
  • X said to be worth less than 29 percent of what Musk paid.

    Fidelity, an investor that put over $300 million into Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, now believes the company is worth 71.5 percent less than the $44 billion paid for it, Axios reports. That implies a total valuation of between $12 and $13 billion and includes a drop of 10.7 percent in the month of November alone when Musk told advertisers to “go fuck” themselves.

  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 23, 2023

    Richard Lawler

    Elon Musk’s X can’t shake off a lawsuit over millions of dollars in unpaid Twitter bonuses.

    In this entry into the list of lawsuits over unpaid Twitter bills, Courthouse News reports Mark Schobinger’s class action lawsuit is over unpaid 2022 annual bonuses. Schobinger, notably, is Twitter’s former senior director of compensation.

    He says execs’ promises of a 50 percent payout for those who remained through Q1 of 2023 kept employees around during Elon’s “hardcoretakeover, but now the company argues its oral promise wasn’t enforceable. The judge didn’t buy that, writing that “Twitter’s contrary arguments all fail,” so the case will proceed.

  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 21, 2023

    Richard Lawler

    X was down

    The Twitter bird impaled on the X logo.
    Image: The Verge

    Elon Musk’s X platform, previously known as Twitter, mostly stopped working for more than an hour. In mobile apps, the timelines wouldn’t refresh, and on the web, a placeholder message proclaimed, “Welcome to X! This is the best place to see what’s happening in your world. Find some people and topics to follow now.” The global internet trackers at Netblocks noted a “significant international outage” that wasn’t linked to any country-level blocks or filtering.

    At about 1:35AM ET, shortly after this article was published, access to timelines was restored, although we haven’t heard what caused the problem.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 13, 2023

    Richard Lawler

    An X outage broke all outgoing links, again

    The Twitter bird impaled on the X logo.
    Image: The Verge

    As if publishers and users didn’t have enough reasons to reconsider their connections to the platform formerly known as Twitter, all outgoing links from X stopped working Wednesday afternoon. A problem with the URL redirect that captures activity before sending users on their way sent people to a simple error page saying, “This page is down. I scream. You scream. We all scream... for us to fix this page. We’ll stop making jokes and get things up and running soon.”

    After about an hour or so of that happening, the problem was fixed, although we haven’t seen any public acknowledgment of the issue from the @Support account, CEO Linda Yaccarino, or X owner / CTO Elon Musk.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 12, 2023

    Richard Lawler

    Ad sales on X are reportedly about about a half billion lower than anticipated for 2023.

    Bloomberg cites unnamed sources in this report about how much ad revenue has dropped for the platform formerly known as Twitter as its CTO continues to drive advertisers away, saying it’s on track for $2.5 billion this year despite internal targets for $3 billion.

    X generated a little more than $600 million in advertising revenue in each of the first three quarters of the year, and is anticipating a similar performance in the current period, according to a person familiar with the numbers. That compares to more than $1 billion per quarter in 2022.

    The X head of business operations, Joe Benarroch, is quoted disputing the figures, claiming the sources “are not providing accurate and comprehensive details... We are not Twitter any longer and not measuring ourselves by old Twitter metrics — both in revenue and user metrics.”

  • Richard Lawler

    Dec 8, 2023

    Richard Lawler

    Is Threads signing a major free agent away from Elon Musk?

    Even as big advertisers exit, sports Twitter has continued going strong. But now the official Threads account announced that sports/NBA Twitter’s newsbreaker Adrian Wojnarowski “has landed” and is doing a Q&A Friday.

    If “woj bombs” are on the move, it might be about more than hashtags — Wojnarowski works at ESPN, which is still owned by Disney. Musk singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger with his “go f yourself” comments last week, then followed up with more attacks and accusations today while misspelling Iger’s name and saying “He should be fired immediately.”

  • Wes Davis

    Dec 6, 2023

    Wes Davis

    Ex-Twitter security head claims the company fired him to flout regulations

    Elon Musk shrugging on a background with the Twitter logo
    Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

    Alan Rosa, former head of security for Twitter, filed a lawsuit against X, Elon Musk, and company adviser Steve Davis, alleging that he was wrongly fired for protesting Musk-led cost-cutting measures. Lawyers for Rosa wrote in the complaint that the cuts hampered Twitter’s ability to comply with the regulatory demands of the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission.

    The lawsuit alleged that Musk hired Steve Davis as an adviser and gave him broad authority, with which he immediately “began cutting Twitter’s products and services that supported and complied with the Twitter FTC Consent Decree.” Twitter had settled with the FTC over its inappropriate use of users’ personal information only a few months before, prompting the decree. Rosa’s suit complains that Davis and Musk were both “dismissive” of the decree.

    Read Article >
  • Richard Lawler

    Nov 30, 2023

    Richard Lawler

    X CEO responds after X CTO tells departing advertisers to “go fuck yourself.”

    On Wednesday, X owner, executive chair, and chief technical officer Elon Musk used his interview at the DealBook Summit 2023 event to antagonize advertisers (singling out Disney CEO Bob Iger, who was present) that paused doing business with the company, as well as clarifying his previous statements in ways that probably made them worse.

    Now the company’s CEO Linda Yaccarino has chimed in with... this in a post on X:

    Today @elonmusk gave a wide ranging and candid interview at @dealbook 2023. He also offered an apology, an explanation and an explicit point of view about our position. X is enabling an information independence that’s uncomfortable for some people. We’re a platform that allows people to make their own decisions. And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you. To our partners who believe in our meaningful work — Thank You.

  • Nov 30, 2023

    Jacob Kastrenakes and Mia Sato

    Elon Musk tells advertisers: ‘Go fuck yourself’

    The New York Times Hosts Its Annual DealBook Summit
    Photo by Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

    Elon Musk took the stage at the DealBook conference on Wednesday evening with nervous laughter and a cascade of jokes about himself and his companies. But the interview quickly turned to the more serious subject of Musk’s recent antisemitic posts on X (formerly Twitter) and whether his company can survive the advertiser boycott. On that matter, Musk seemed alternatingly apologetic and defiant — acknowledging his mistakes, then doing everything in his power to push advertisers away.

    “I hope they stop. Don’t advertise,” Musk told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin. “If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.” He singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger, who discussed not wanting Disney to be affiliated with Musk while onstage earlier in the day. “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience.”

    Read Article >
  • Thomas Ricker

    Nov 22, 2023

    Thomas Ricker

    Paris Hilton pulls Twitter ads, but the NFL is staying.

    Hilton’s entertainment company has pulled an advertising campaign from Elon Musk’s X over concerns about antisemitism and pro-Nazi content on the site previously known as Twitter, but the NFL is sticking around because its “fans are clearly there.” Guess we know who has more integrity.