Elon Musk took over Twitter in a $44 billion deal. After the exit of Jack Dorsey, the platform has changed considerably. Despite the changes, Twitter is still among the top social media platforms.
We explore the significant changes on Twitter in the last 7 months.
CEO is Linda Yaccarino as Elon Musk steps down
Twitter announced a new CEO, Linda Yaccarino. Yaccarino was a long-time advertising executive and most recently served as chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal. Consequently, Musk indicated he is stepping down from the role.
Linda Yaccarino will focus primarily on business operations. Meanwhile, Elon Musk will continue working on product design, and new technology, and remain on the board of directors as Chairman.
Twitter Blue & Verified Badges for Organizations
The previous blue verification system was shelved. In its place, Twitter has introduced a newer one. Now users can get blue, gold, or silver badges based on the kind of account that they operate.
Twitter Blue costs USD 8 or USD 11 depending on whether you are signing up from a PC or mobile device (Apple customers pay USD 11).
It is one of the first changes in policy after Elon Musk took over the platform, and described the entire verification exercise as “corrupt.”
For example, all government-related accounts will get a silver badge, all brands and companies will get a gold badge, and all personal accounts will get a blue badge if they are subscribed to Twitter Blue.
Twitter Blue is a paid subscription service that will allow users to get a blue verification badge for their accounts.
Users can also access other perks and features, such as editing and bookmarking tweets if they want to. It is also notable that users who had a blue verification badge before the change can still have the badge on their accounts.
In addition, the platform prioritizes their tweets. They also get to write long-form tweets and upload up to 2 hrs of Videos. The long-form tweets are 10,000 characters.
Moreover, the company also modified its Twitter Blue page and said the video file size limit for paid users is now increased from 2GB to 8GB
Launched a flawed version of encrypted DMs
It had taken several months for that feature to launch and like the rest of the features he has launched since then, the new privacy feature is deeply flawed.
Currently, this feature is only available to verified Blue users or accounts associated with verified organizations
One of the major weaknesses is that the encryption is not end-to-end which means government bodies or malicious actors can still access your DMs which beats the whole purpose. The company is transparent about this flaw saying that they’re still working on that part.
Another issue is that encrypted DMs are not enabled by default – it’s an opt-in feature like on Facebook Messenger. This feature doesn’t allow for group messaging, or sending photos or videos.
Twitter removed SMS two-factor authentication(2FA)
Twitter sent notifications that alerted the users that SMS two-factor authentication(2FA) was going away. However, it was not going away completely. Users of Twitter Blue had access to the option.
Non-paying Twitter users could turn to Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator, or Authy to set up 2FA.
Developers have to pay for Twitter API
Twitter announced its API payment structures. This meant organizations or developers could no longer have free access.
These three tiers include a bare-bone free level mostly meant for content posting bots, a $100 per month basic level, and a costly enterprise level. The company said that subscribing to any level gets access to Ads API at no cost.
The company discontinued old access, causing outages for 3rd party applications.
Twitter makes its API free for public announcement accounts
Twitter announced on May 2 that it is making its API free for verified government or public-owned services posting about public utility alerts such as weather alerts, transportation information, and emergency warnings.
Introduced voice DMs & tweets.
Twitter introduced a voice messages feature for users. The new feature allows users to send a voice DM (Direct Message) or a voice clip to Twitter.
This feature makes it easier to Tweet on the go with your voice. In addition, the platform added automated captions to improve accessibility.
Archiving of Inactive Accounts
Twitter stated that it is encouraging users to at least log on to their accounts every 30 days.
The platform wrote on its help center blog: “Inactivity is based on logging in. Please note that you may not be able to tell whether an account is currently inactive, as not all signs of account activity are publicly visible.
Elon Musk noted that the move is necessary to free up unused handles.
Twitter restored the Blue verification mark for top accounts
Multiple top accounts got back their verification marks on Twitter. However, many of them, including footballer Riyad Mahrez, musician Lil Nas X, and Lebron James said that they didn’t pay for the blue badge.
Earlier in the year, The New York Times had indicated the platform was considering free verification marks.
The free verification was to be given to the top 10,000 brands and companies.
Twitter Censored Substack Links
It became impossible to reply to, like, or retweet posts with Substack links.
Although, one can quote the tweet. Trying any other activity displays the message “Some actions on this Tweet have been disabled by Twitter.”
Elon Musk started the lay Off of Employees
Twitter’s staff is down from about 7,500 employees to less than 2,000 since Musk took over.
For instance, one of the numerous rounds of cuts eliminated the platform’s entire accessibility team.
Twitter Introduces TikTok-Style ‘For You’ Tab for iOS, Web
Twitter’s for You tab now appears on desktop web browsers and Mobile.
Twitter renamed its “Home” tab to the “For You” tab and is now the default tab when using the app.
It is an algorithm-based curated tab similar to what TikTok does.
Take note, users can still access their “Following” tab, which is a list of the latest posts from the people they follow.
Elon Musk Announced Tweet Views Metric
Twitter started showing the number of times a tweet has been viewed. It’s similar to how you can tell how many times a video has been played.
At the time this was the announcement: “Twitter is rolling out View Count, so you can see how many times a tweet has been seen! This is normal for video. Shows how much more alive Twitter is than it may seem, as over 90% of Twitter users read, but don’t tweet, reply or like, as those are public actions,” Elon said on Twitter.
This was an attempt to show Twitter does have a lot of active users who view but don’t engage.
Perhaps, a move to attract advertisers.
Elon Musk Incorporates Twitter as X Corp
Twitter informed business users in April that It will be conducting business as X Corp.
This confirmed a transition as Elon Musk’s seeks to make the platform an everything app. X Corp is now used in all official dealings.
Furthermore, the company moved its incorporation from Delaware to Nevada. It is thought, Musk may have made this state shift as he believes that Nevada corporate law is more flexible than it is in Delaware,
Twitter removes ‘government-funded’ news labels
Twitter has removed “government-funded media” labels on all accounts, from NPR to the Russian state-affiliated RT News. The webpage explaining the “Government Funded Label” was also deleted by Twitter
Microsoft drops Twitter from its advertising platform
In April, Microsoft announced it dropping Twitter from its advertising platform.
Significantly, this came after Twitter said it will charge $42,000 per month to users of its API, including enterprises and research institutions.
The moves mean users will no longer be able to access their Twitter account, or create, schedule, or otherwise manage tweets through Microsoft’s free social media management service.