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9+ Facts About Twitter (X) That Changed Since It Got Rebranded

Elon Musk's controversial rebranding of Twitter as 'X,' involves ambitious plans to turn it into a 'everything app,' with a wave of major changes already underway since his takeover.
Updated March 20, 2024

Twitter is undergoing significant changes under new owner Elon Musk. The platform was rebranded "X" to reflect ambitious plans to expand far beyond a social media platform into an all-encompassing "everything app," potentially incorporating features such as digital banking and e-commerce.

In this article, we’ll explore the most surprising yet little-known facts about X since the takeover, as well as Musk’s grand vision for its future.

Buckle up and let's dive in!

The Idea Behind X

Before we start with facts after its rebranding we’re going to look first what is the reason behind X. The name change to X signals that Twitter aims to become more than simply a social media platform. There are plans to incorporate features like digital banking, e-commerce, and additional social functionality. 

This attempt at an all-in-one internet services platform is reminiscent of Elon Musk's original X.com venture launched in 1999. According to author Walter Isaacson, X.com sought to bring innovation to online finance before eventually merging with another company to form PayPal. 

Elon's first attempt at a financial services company, X.com, did not successfully disrupt the industry back in 1999. Now, he is using Twitter as his next opportunity to make waves in a different sphere. With his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in 2022, Musk aims to transform the social media platform into an "everything app" that incorporates features like banking, e-commerce and more.

However, it’s debatable whether adding features like banking and shopping to what has previously been a microblogging app makes sense. Only time will tell if that was a good idea.

Musk Cut The Twitter Workforce by 80%

Elon Musk revealed in an interview with the BBC that significant layoffs have occurred at Twitter since he assumed leadership, affecting over 6,000 employees. Musk stated that Twitter now employs around 1,500 people, down from nearly 8,000 at the time of acquisition. This equates to an 80% decrease in the company's workforce. 

Employees from various departments, including ethical AI, marketing, communication, search, public policy, wellness, and curation teams, who are in charge of promoting reliable information, including election-related content, were among those laid off. According to the CEO, downsizing a workforce is “not fun at all” and can be a “painful” process.

Twitter Value Sunk 50%+ Since Musk’s Takeover

Twitter's valuation has plummeted since Elon Musk's acquisition in October 2022. Fidelity, an asset manager that kept a stake in Twitter worth about $20 million after the acquisition, said in a filing that its current stake is worth just under $6.6 million. This implies a total company valuation of $14.75 billion for what is now known as X Holdings Corp.

Fidelity disclosed its Twitter holdings as part of mandated reporting for its blue-chip growth fund, which invests in large global corporations with typically stable valuations. The fund also has investments in other Musk companies, including $386 million in private rocket company SpaceX and $849 million in public electric vehicle maker Tesla.

Twitter's worth is important for employees who joined when the stock was publicly traded and were compensated with company stock options. According to reports, Musk offered to value those options at around $20 billion in March, implying that the company's value had at least halved since his takeover.

The Twitter Blue Update

Perhaps the most notable change after it got rebranded is Twitter Blue, the company's subscription service, which debuted in late November of 2022 after several failed launches. Twitter Blue, which costs $8-11$ per month, promises additional features such as tweet editing, increased visibility, and fewer advertisements. 

Some unverified reports indicate that Twitter Blue has a sizable subscriber base, but Twitter has yet to release any official data on the paid tier's success. The platform's new system has transformed Twitter's iconic blue verification checkmark, which was originally used to confirm the authenticity of celebrities, journalists, brands, and other public figures. 

Though accounts previously awarded blue checkmarks keep them as a "legacy" badge with the caveat that they may or may not indicate notability, the symbol has now taken on a new meaning as an indicator of Twitter Blue subscription. As a result, the blue checkmark no longer solely conveys authoritative status. This shift has altered the meaning as well as the visual design of Twitter's once-standard verification system.

Twitter's New Dual Feeds

Twitter has also made changes to how tweets appear on users' timelines. There is now a tab that allows you to switch between the most recent tweets from your followed accounts and those suggested by Twitter. This appears as two columns labeled "for you" and "following" at the top of the iPhone. To switch views, Android users can tap an icon.

One problem arises because some users may have overlooked the fact that the app can automatically revert to Twitter's personalized "for you" feed. Complaints indicate that this feed contains more of Twitter's recommended content and interactions between followed and unfollowed accounts than just tweets from selected followers.

Twitter New Character Limit

Twitter has also been increasing the maximum tweet length for paid Twitter Blue subscribers. The limit for Blue users was recently increased from 10,000 to 25,000 characters. Twitter increased the character limit for Blue subscribers earlier this year, first to 4,000 characters in February and then to 10,000 characters in April. The company also introduced text formatting features such as bold and italics at the time. 

Twitter made a few significant changes to tweet length limits under previous leadership. The last change was in 2017 when the character limit was increased from 140 to 280, users reacted negatively to the update at the time. The recent increases to allow tweets over 25,000 characters represent a major shift in Twitter's historically constrained format. It introduces more flexibility for paid users to post long-form content.

Twitter Suspended API Access

Twitter also appears to have disabled access to its API, which allows communication with third-party platforms. As a result, users of non-Twitter apps and social media management tools may find themselves unable to interact with Twitter for the time being.

According to the Twitter Dev account, Twitter deliberately suspended API access in what experts are interpreting as an intentional move to block third-party Twitter platforms. Popular apps like Tweetbot, Fenix, Twitterific and others that relied on API access were directly impacted.

The change could be related to ad-based monetization plans and the new Twitter Blue subscription, which could conflict with external app capabilities. Twitter, on the other hand, has yet to issue an official statement explaining the API disruption.

Musk Reinstates Banned Twitter Accounts

Elon has also begun reinstating several previously banned, high-profile Twitter accounts, sparking outrage. Users who have been unbanned include rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West) for antisemitic posts and former U.S. President Donald Trump, whose tweets are accused of inciting the 2021 Capitol riots. Recently, Alex Jones was brought back after some crazy controversies he’s been involved in. Musk reinstated him after a poll.

The decision to bring back these accounts sparked a wide range of public reactions. Some praise it as a courageous move in support of free speech, while others disapprove of it as a hasty decision that could harm the brand.

Elon's Future Plan For X

According to the New York Times, Musk has set some ambitious financial goals for Twitter by 2028, including increasing annual revenue from $5 billion in 2021 to $26.4 billion in 2028. He also wants to increase Twitter's user base to 931 million by 2028, from 217 million.

Musk's strategy includes reducing Twitter's reliance on advertising, which will account for 90% of revenue in 2021. He intends to diversify revenue streams by implementing subscriptions and payments. Advertising would still generate $12 billion in revenue in 2028, according to his projections, while subscriptions could add another $10 billion.

This shift has the potential to fundamentally alter Twitter's business model of providing free access. Musk suggests that businesses and governments may see the platform's value and be willing to pay fees. This would distinguish Twitter from competitors such as Facebook and TikTok, which rely heavily on advertising.

Twitter's workforce will also be restructured to align with the new strategic vision. While there may be some initial workforce reductions, Musk hopes to increase the number of employees to 11,072 by 2025.

The Timeline Of How It Happened

Musk began the process of acquiring Twitter on April 14, 2022, and completed the acquisition on October 27, 2022. In July 2023, he announced that Twitter would be rebranded as ‘X.’ Here’s a summary of what happened:

  • December 2017 - A playful exchange on Twitter planted the seed in Musk's mind about potentially buying the platform.
  •  January 2022 - Musk quietly began amassing Twitter shares, building a substantial stake.   
  •  April 4, 2022 - In an SEC filing, Musk revealed he had become Twitter's largest shareholder with a 9.2% stake.  
  •  April 14, 2022 - Musk offered an unsolicited bid to take Twitter private for $44 billion at $54.20 per share.   
  •  April 15, 2022 - Twitter adopted a "poison pill" provision to defend against Musk's hostile takeover attempt.  
  • October 2022 - After months of public feuding, Musk proposed proceeding with his original $44 billion offer.  
  • October 27, 2022 - The takeover deal officially closed. Musk took over as the new owner and CEO of Twitter.  
  • July 2023 - Musk announced a plan to rebrand Twitter as "X" and replace its iconic logo.

Key Takeaways:

  • It took over 6 months from the initial offer to the finalized acquisition deal.  
  • Musk paid $44 billion for 100% of Twitter shares.
  • Significant workforce cuts of ~75% since he took over.
  • Vision to expand Twitter into an "everything app".

Elon Musk went from casually suggesting a Twitter acquisition to officially taking over as CEO and owner in less than a year. One can expect Musk's leadership to defy conventions, Musk is already shaking things up by rebranding Twitter as the enigmatic "X." 

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Written by Neil Regole
I'm Neil, and I'm a passionate writer with years of experience writing prose and short stories on tech. I enjoy playing with words to create intriguing narratives for readers across the world. My favorite saying goes, 'A story well told is a story half-sold.' So, here I am, writing for the folks who are here to read!
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