5 things that have changed on Twitter since the arrival of Elon Musk

5 things that have changed on Twitter since the arrival of Elon Musk

Published on 20 Apr 2023

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After Elon Musk’s controversial purchase of Twitter, many things have been changing in the famous Twitter network. The controversial technology magnate promised new guidelines and delivered, although not exactly for the better.

Twitter, a social network that since its conception became a public square for debate and positioning of important issues in the digital conversation, is being transformed at an accelerated pace under Musk’s rule, who seeks to make the company profitable despite sacrificing the flow of a more authentic conversation.

Although at the time of the sale, Elon Musk said he wanted Twitter to “help humanity” and improve “the digital public square”, the truth is that in that square there are more and more rules to take a seat and the privileged pay to be heard.

Starting with massive layoffs and resignations, Musk has been dedicated to announce many changes, several of them have been withdrawn even before materializing, but what really changed for users and how does it affect the dynamics and future of Twitter? From ProBox we explain the most relevant measures:

1. Verification tied to the “Twitter Blue” subscription

The blue verification check with which many on the network are guided to identify accounts of relevance, with authentic people and that met certain standards to validate their identity, becoming more reliable from the rest has completely changed its meaning.

Now those who want to get this medal will not have to compete to prove their reputation and voice on the social network, but only have to pay for it and that’s it. Users will be able to receive a premium deal that includes the verification check if they decide to pay monthly at least $7 and, from April 20, those who do not pay the subscription and are already verified will lose the badge.

From the same Twitter page, the change of meaning of the famous badge is clearly explained. “Previously, Twitter used the blue verification mark to indicate active, relevant and authentic accounts of public interest that had been independently verified according to certain requirements. Now the blue checkmark signifies that the account has an active subscription to the new Twitter Blue subscription service.

In addition, different colored verification badges were created to separate account types by now having a gold check for companies or businesses, gray for government representatives and institutions, and blue for individuals whether or not they are famous or well-known.

This is just one of the benefits of subscribing to Twitter Blue, which includes a greater number of characters in tweets, greater visibility of messages, priority in searches, among others, causing those who are not subscribed to be increasingly limited in the network.

2. Two Home versions

There are now two versions of the Twitter home timeline: the traditional one with the accounts you follow and another one called “For you”, where Twitter selects similar content recommendations from other accounts based on your activity on the network.

This new timeline is a more dynamic version that seeks to capture the attention of younger users by copying formats from more attractive social networks such as TikTok. However, appearing in this section will cost money.

One of the benefits announced with the Twitter Blue subscription was to guarantee that tweets from these accounts would appear in the “For You” section, since on April 15 it would change to only show content from verified accounts and, as verification is tied to the Twitter Blue payment, it would be necessary to pay to have this reach. Changing the original dynamics of the section. However, April 15 passed and this change has not yet been implemented.

3. Reactivation of controversial accounts

One of the promises made by Elon Musk when proposing the purchase of Twitter was to “shield users’ freedom of expression” from interference by regulators or the platform itself. Musk’s promise came in the wake of the suspension of accounts such as Donald Trump’s after posting a message of support for the attack on the US Capitol in January 2021.

However, several accounts that had been suspended for violating Twitter’s policies were reactivated without further explanation under the premise of “freedom of expression”; among which stand out Donald Trump’s own account after Musk himself made a poll on Twitter asking if it was reactivated and indicating that “the people have spoken”.

Also noteworthy are the accounts of Kanye West, Andrew Tate and Diosdado Cabello’s “Con El Mazo Dando”.

However, on Twitter democracy is not for everyone. In December, Musk suspended the accounts of several journalists who had been critical of his way of managing the social network.

4. New API access

One of the changes that may have gone under the table for most is access to Twitter’s API.

The Application Programming Interface (API), allows software developers to interact directly with Twitter data and use it for advertising campaigns, create targeting criteria, extract trend analysis and conduct research, according to Twitter’s developer platform.

The changes in Twitter’s data interface have caused the temporary suspension of existing access and difficulties to migrate to the new versions, many of these without prior notice, due to the implementation of a new payment system for access, of which there is not enough information despite the fact that the cuts that allowed obtaining data have been made.

This means that it is becoming increasingly difficult to analyze the activity of this social network.

Although Musk tweeted that the free API system is being “abused” by bots and scammers on the platform and that a $100/month payment for access would “clean things up a lot,” it is still unclear what the process will look like and various organizations and independent researchers (including us) have been affected by this move.

5. Twitter ceased to exist and is now X

Twitter Inc. ceased to exist. A Bloomberg report claims that the social network company of the little bird ceased to be independent after merging with a newly formed shell company called “X Corp”.

It is not yet clear what the change means for Twitter, which has undergone a radical restructuring since the change of ownership. However, it is not news that Twitter will disappear as a company.

Elon Musk had already suggested in the past that buying Twitter would be an “accelerator” for the creation of “X”, which he described as a “universal application”.

As usual in the face of controversial decisions, the billionaire used his account on the social network to talk about the move, although this time he did so by tweeting a single letter: X.

These are just some of the most relevant changes that the platform has undergone. What others are coming? It is still unclear. Elon Musk’s unpredictability at the helm of Twitter causes more speculation about the network that is moving further and further away from its initial goal.

Remember that on our Instagram account, @ProBoxVE, you can find more information on these topics.

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