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In memory of twitter

Remember Twitter? The simple app where users could share 180-word texts with their followers is gone. It has been rebranded to X. A soon-to-be subscription-based, “everything app,” according to entrepreneur and founder Elon Musk. 

Paige McHatten, a fourth-year English and journalism student, remembers Twitter.  “I’ve had Twitter since 2013 and have used it consistently throughout those 10 years,” she said. McHatten used to joke with her friends that Twitter was the social media for those who like to read.  

Social media, especially Twitter, undoubtedly plays a role in public discourse and spreading information today. 

“It used to be my go-to place for music news and brainless content. I considered the app a sacred place. Until Musk took over,” said McHatten. According to her, she didn’t want to pay in order to see the content she was used to getting on Twitter. Additionally, she felt like she was continuously exposed to more content she did not want to see. 

“I ended up downloading TikTok, deleting X, and I haven’t used the app since,” said McHatten.

Musk made an offer to Twitter for $44 billion in April 2022, an amount well above the company’s current stock price. After some legal battles over the company’s misrepresentation of the number of bot accounts, Musk officially purchased Twitter that October. 

He made his goal for the app clear: to align it more strictly with the principles of free speech. 

This was a controversial idea coming off the 2016 election misinformation and January 6 riots, which resulted in former president Donald Trump’s Twitter account being banned from the platform. 

Over the course of the next year, Musk laid off 80% of Twitter employees. This includes those who monitored the platform flagging for misinformation. 

Will Fiske, a fourth-year parks, recreation and tourism student said, “I’ve always found Twitter to be one of the more unhinged social media platforms, and I think Musk will just continue to make it more unpredictable and chaotic.” Fiske was not a Twitter user before Musk’s takeover. 

In November 2022, Musk introduced a new subscription-based option for Twitter users. Named “Twitter Blue,” folks can pay a monthly $7.99, and they’ll be granted the blue circle check mark that Twitter is known for. In the past, these check marks indicated that the account was indeed who it said it was. Now, with Twitter Blue, anyone can purchase this verification mark. 

Musk added to the benefits of this subscription in July 2023 by introducing rate limits. This means that there is a cap on the amount of content a Twitter user can see in a day.

According to Musk’s Twitter, there is a tier system in place for the rate limits. Verified accounts (also known as Twitter Blue subscribers) can only see 6,000 tweets per day. Non-verified, long-term users can only see 600 tweets per day. New and non-verified users can only see 300 tweets per day. 

This was all before Musk’s surprise rebrand of Twitter to X, the everything app, in July. 

With this switch, he posted on X, “In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world.” He said a final farewell to Twitter with, “We must bid adieu to the bird.” 

Most recently, over a livestream about artificial intelligence, Musk announced that X will soon become a fully subscription-based app. So, any user will have to pay in order to use X. 

This eliminates anyone who is not willing to pay to use X from its base audience, l. Leaving an app once bubbling with information void of its once loyal users. 

“The way Musk’s work has transpired at X does not make me want to use the platform,” said Trevor McGee, a fourth-year finance and marketing student.

As the death of the beloved Twitter was mourned, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, dropped their own version of the text-based app called Threads. This successfully filled the niche that Musk left ajar. 

Now, there are two new platforms replacing Twitter. One is a subscription-based free-for-all and soon-to-be everything app. The other is a copy of the original Twitter, owned and managed by the social media monopoly Meta. 

This turn of events presents an opportunity to pose once again the question of whether or not it is more important to monitor platforms for misinformation and harmful messaging or to have the freedom of unchecked speech on social media platforms. And, if one company is in charge of it all, what does that mean for social media? 

As you say goodbye to Twitter, remember to check the facts and sources of your information. It is easier to believe a fact that aligns with what you already believe in, so take some time and ensure it is true.

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