#NewsBytesExplainer: How has Twitter changed since Elon Musk's takeover
It's been over a week since the curtains fell on the long-drawn Elon Musk-Twitter saga. He has been busy since assuming the role of 'Chief Twit.' The billionaire has set his sights on making Twitter a profitable platform and has been making changes left and right since taking over. Here, we take a look at how Twitter has changed since Musk's acquisition.
Twitter now has lesser employees on payroll
Musk's decision to axe roughly half of Twitter's 7,500-strong workforce worldwide has irked many. The billionaire has defended his decision by citing the company's poor financial shape. This wasn't unexpected though. Musk paid $44 billion, including $13 billion in debt financing to acquire Twitter. According to Musk, the platform is losing over $4 million/day, meaning some drastic steps had to be taken.
Several advertisers have moved away from Twitter
Musk's takeover of Twitter was followed by advertisers losing their confidence in the platform. Many have paused their advertisements to see how things pan out. This doesn't fare well for Musk, who is faced with the task of increasing the company's revenue while cutting its expenses. Rationalization of headcount gives an easy way out, at least until he figures out something else.
Blue tick is now chargeable
Another major change introduced by Musk is the new verification system. The platform's coveted blue tick, which was once reserved for noteworthy individuals, is now up for grabs for anyone. It is part of the Twitter Blue subscription, which now costs $7.99/month. Verified users get several features, including the ability to post longer videos and priority in search, mentions, and searches, among others.
Birth of a dedicated content moderation council
When Musk took over Twitter, one of the things that worried most people, including advertisers, was his stance on content moderation. To reassure them, the billionaire announced that he will set up a content moderation council with diverse viewpoints. The council will be responsible for every content-related decision. They will also take the call on account reinstatement. .The council is yet to convene.
Twitter will soon allow users to attach long-form texts
Twitter users may not have to attach notepad screenshots to share long-form content anymore. Musk has announced that the platform will soon get the feature to attach long-form texts to tweets. To a user's question whether people will be able to use long-form pieces of writing, he replied, "absolutely." The new feature will be "Twitter Notes" of sorts.
Creators will be able to monetize their content
Followed by long-form texts, Twitter will also get "creator monetization for all forms of content," said Musk. This would allow creators to put content behind a paywall and charge users to view them. We can expect the company to take a cut of the proceeds. This is part of Musk's quest for finding new revenue streams for Twitter other than advertising.
Musk wants to pay creators more than YouTube
Twitter currently pays creators using 'tips' and 'subscriptions.' Creators can charge up to $9.99/month. Musk wants to change this to attract famous creators from YouTube and other platforms to Twitter. When a user said that YouTube gives creators 55% of ad revenue, Musk replied, "we can beat that." The project is considered high risk internally, but Musk is expected to go through with it.
Musk wants to fix Twitter's search option
Another thing high on Musk's priority list is fixing Twitter's search function. The billionaire said that the current state of search within Twitter reminds him of "Infoseek in '98." Replying to a user's tweet about "integrating advanced search into the main Twitter app," Musk said, "fixing search is a high priority." We may soon see some changes related to this as well.
Impersonating accounts will be permanently suspended
Musk has announced strict action against impersonating accounts. This was in reaction to Twitter users with a blue tick changing their names to Elon Musk and posting parody tweets. The new CEO said that such accounts without a 'parody' tag will be permanently suspended. They will also face issues when it comes to their verification.
Vine may make a comeback
Remember Vine, the short video platform that let users make six-second-long videos that played in a loop? It was released to the public in 2013. It became a runaway hit, garnering 200 million users in three years. Musk is planning a Vine reboot. To his question "bring back Vine," around 70% of users responded "yes." We might see Vine back on Twitter very soon.
The new home page shows trending tweets, news stories
One of the first changes Musk made post his acquisition of Twitter was to change the platform's home page. Earlier, when users signed out, they were taken to a page with a sign-up form. Now, they are taken to an Explore page with trending tweets and news stories. He also renamed 'Super Follows,' the paid monthly subscription to creators, to 'Subscription.'
Musk fired senior executives soon after the acquisition
The list of changes made by Musk since acquiring Twitter won't be complete without how it all began. His first order of business was to fire the company's senior executives, including then-CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and Head of legal policy, trust, and safety wing Vijaya Gadde, among others. He also axed general counsel Sean Edgett and the chief customer officer Sarah Personette.