Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms, has undergone significant changes since Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, took over the reins in October 2022. With his unconventional approach and entrepreneurial mindset, Musk has implemented several changes to Twitter, aiming to improve its overall performance, user experience, and profitability.
These changes have been both welcomed and criticized by the Twitter community, with some praising Musk’s innovation and others expressing concerns about the platform’s future. Research by ExpressVPN shows that despite the renewed interest in Twitter following Elon Musk’s acquisition, the platform is projected to witness a decline of 33 million users worldwide by 2024.
In this article, we will delve into the five major changes that Musk has made to Twitter, from the controversial move to charge users for verification to the stricter policies around sharing private information. By exploring these changes, we can gain a better understanding of how Elon Musk is shaping Twitter and the implications for the platform’s future.
5 Significant Changes Elon Musk Has Made to Twitter:
1. Reversed Ban on Controversial Accounts
Twitter reinstated several controversial accounts previously banned for violating the platform’s rules. Among these accounts were high-profile individuals such as rapper Kanye West, influencer Andrew Tate, and former US president Donald Trump.
For instance, Kanye West was banned from Twitter for sharing posts that contained antisemitic content. On the other hand, Andrew Tate is currently facing charges of people trafficking in Romania. Donald Trump’s tweets, meanwhile, were accused of inciting the violent Capitol Hill riots in January 2021. Despite these controversies, their accounts were reinstated by Twitter.
It’s worth noting that Twitter’s decision to reinstate these accounts sparked debate and criticism from various individuals and groups. While some argued that the platform should allow free speech, others expressed concerns about the potential harm that these controversial figures could cause on the platform.
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2. Restricted Access to API, Affecting Alternative Viewing Options
Twitter has recently made changes that seem to restrict alternative ways to view the platform. This change involves the suspension of access to Twitter’s API, which is what other platforms use to communicate with it. This means that if you typically use a third-party social media manager to view your Twitter account, you may find that it’s not working as expected.
While it’s unclear whether this change was intentional, some experts believe it was a deliberate move by Twitter. However, the platform has not made any official announcements about the change yet. As a result, popular apps like Tweetbot, Fenix, and Twitterific have been experiencing issues with their functionality.
3. Introduced Twitter Blue as Paid Service
Twitter removed the check mark icons from the profiles of numerous celebrities, politicians, and journalists, signaling how Elon Musk’s leadership is changing the company.
For years, the check mark symbol indicated that Twitter had verified the identity of the account owner, and it was regarded as a symbol of status. However, under Mr. Musk’s ownership, Twitter has started charging individuals $8 per month to maintain their verification status, and those who do not pay will lose their check marks.
The transition to this new system has been challenging. Initially, Mr. Musk suggested a monthly fee of $20 for verification, but he reduced the amount after facing criticism. Additionally, he had previously announced that already-verified accounts would lose their badges in April, but only a few did.
Several Twitter users claimed that as check marks were removed from their accounts, the symbols would vanish and reappear on their profiles.
4. Changed Twitter’s Curated ‘For You’ Feed
Twitter has introduced a significant change in the way tweets appear on users’ timelines. Instead of chronological order, Twitter now presents users with two tabs: “for you” and “following” allowing them to switch between the latest tweets from accounts they follow or tweets recommended by Twitter. The new format is displayed as two columns on the top of an iPhone screen, while Android users must tap a star icon located at the top right-hand side of their screens to access it.
Despite the update being intended to provide users with a more personalized experience, some users may have overlooked this change or not noticed that the app often defaults back to Twitter’s “for you” curated feed. This feed is a compilation of tweets recommended by Twitter and interactions between people users follow and accounts they may not know.
This change has drawn criticism from users who feel that this default feed contains too much-suggested content and may not include updates from the accounts they have chosen to follow. In addition, some users have reported seeing posts from accounts they do not follow, leading to concerns about how Twitter decides what content to display on the “for you” tab.
Twitter has acknowledged that the new format may take some getting used to but insists that it will help users discover more relevant content and engage with their followers. The platform has also stated that it will continue to refine the format based on user feedback. Nonetheless, it is crucial for users to be aware of this change and understand how it may affect their Twitter experience.
5. Implemented Strict Rules Against Doxxing
Elon Musk stated that sharing someone’s real-time location on Twitter is a violation of physical safety and will result in account suspension. Twitter’s policy states that revealing someone’s live location is a serious security threat and is not allowed. If someone shares private information or media, their account will be locked for the first offense, and they will be asked to remove the content. After the second violation, a suspension for a prolonged period will be imposed.
Twitter has updated its policy to clarify that users cannot publish another person’s private information without their permission. Prohibitions also extend to threatening to reveal someone’s private information. Accounts that are utilized to publicize somebody’s real-time location will be promptly suspended. This update was made in December 2022.
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The changes brought to Twitter under the leadership of Elon Musk have been significant and far-reaching. From the introduction of paid subscriptions for enhanced features to the crackdown on doxxing and the removal of verification badges, Musk has made his mark on the platform in a relatively short period of time.
While these changes have been met with a mix of enthusiasm and criticism from the Twitter community, it is clear that the platform is undergoing a transformation that will shape its future for years to come. As we look ahead, it will be interesting to see how Twitter continues to evolve under the leadership of one of the world’s most innovative and visionary entrepreneurs.