Hurricane Elon has taken over Twitter

If you thought things would go back to normal once Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter became effective, I’m afraid that’s not the case. In fact, since he became the new CEO of the social media platform, things have taken a turn for the worse. So, today I’ll try to shed some light on the current state of affairs at one of the world’s biggest tech companies.

After the $44,000-million acquisition, things got a bit awkward: Elon says he wants to charge $8 for account verification. Until now, that blue checkmark was reserved exclusively for accounts where identity confirmation was necessary for whatever reason. That’s why it was granted to celebrities, journalists, activists, companies, etc.

A couple of days later, Twitter announced that they had designed two verification checkmarks: An “Official” sign that will be free of charge for a handful of companies, advertisers, and celebrities and another mark that anyone can buy.

It’s pretty clear that if anyone can buy their account verification, things might get a bit messy.

A couple of days later, the layoff rumors came, and they unfortunately turned out to be true: Twitter laid off half of its 7,500 employees. And to make matters even worse, they were let go via email. Simon Balmain, former Senior Community Manager at the company, announced it in a tweet: “Looks like I’m unemployed y’all. I just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack.”

And as if that wasn’t enough, some employees were asked to come back a couple of days later because they had been fired by mistake and their skills were needed to develop the new features that Musk is planning to launch.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter creator and CEO for many years, stepped forward and took responsibility: “I realize many are angry with me. I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly. I apologize for that.” It’s worth noting that a couple of months ago, when Twitter’s acquisition began, Jack said that Elon was the right person to push the platform forward.

And amid all this chaos, rumors are saying that the new CEO wants to bring Vine back, the social media platform that Twitter launched a couple of years ago and which pioneered the current trend of short and funny videos. Now, TikTok has completely taken over that market. And although this might sound like bad news, it does have a downside: Elon wants to relaunch the platform by the end of the year, but the code hasn’t been updated since 2017. So, it’s a highly complex task, especially considering the company’s current situation.

There’s another interesting detail to touch on. Despite the controversy around Musk’s arrival at Twitter, the number of users is growing more than ever. In a document shared with advertisers, the company revealed that the number of monetizable daily active users (those to whom the algorithm shows ads) reached an all-time high last week.

Still, things are not looking good. It’s clear that Elon wants to turn the platform into a money-making machine at any cost. But this might lead users to move to other platforms because they refuse to use the new features we’re already seeing and will continue to see in the short and medium term.

By Axel Marazzi

Axel is a journalist who specializes in technology and writes for media such as RED/ACCIÓN, Revista Anfibia, and collaborates with the Inter-American Development Bank. He has a newsletter, Observando, and a podcast, Idea Millonaria.

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