Twitter versus Elon Musk

Addie Woltil

More stories from Addie Woltil

Elon+Musk+and+Twitter+logo

Elon Musk and Twitter logo

If you’ve been on social media recently, you’ve most likely seen the news and drama surrounding Twitter, an app where users can “tweet” anything from stating opinions to sharing jokes. The app has raked in substantial amounts of cash for the owners and creators of it, and after a few months of back and forth, Elon Musk, owner of Tesla and SpaceX, purchased Twitter.

While the past months have included copious amounts of unnecessary arguing and almost a trial, on Oct. 27, 2022, Musk closed the deal and bought the app for a tremendous $44 billion. In the short time that he has owned Twitter, he’s already planning to implement many new potential policies that users aren’t pleased with.

One of the first and most controversial of his proposals for Twitter is Musk’s plan to charge a monthly eight-dollar fee for a verification check. He claims that users paying for the checkmark will appear at the top of people’s feeds, despite who they follow, and that the payment will reduce spam accounts. 

While good in theory, the idea is proving to hurt more people than it benefits. In the past, a blue checkmark just meant that the account you are looking at is verified to be the real person, but it will now prove that you have paid. This change will increase fake accounts and false news because anyone could buy a checkmark and impersonate someone else.

The app that was once a safe haven and display of free speech is now becoming a social order based on who’s willing and able to pay to have their voice heard. It will further silence the voices of many people who can not afford to pay the monthly fee and will have their posts “shadow-banned.” Although not yet in motion, the new changes are already driving many users away from the app and leading to outraged people within the Twitter community.

The app that was once a safe haven and display of free speech is now becoming a social order based on who’s willing and able to pay to have their voice heard.”

While some users have gained from the new ownership, many employees have been suffering. In the first week of Musk’s control over the company, around 3,700 staff members—approximately 50% of their workforce—were laid off due to the $44 billion he paid for the app. 

According to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, the multi-billionaire overpaid for Twitter by around $20 billion. Because of the extra money spent, he was forced to cut 30%-50% of his employees to make a profit. Despite this, Musk still has the money to make up for himself and his investors. Last quarter, Twitter lost $270 million as advertising continues to slow at an even more severe rate now that businesses are deciding not to advertise on Twitter due to the new ownership. 

The uncertainty that reigns over Musk’s takeover is causing many companies to halt advertising on Twitter. Most don’t want their brands associated with Musk and all of the hate speech on Twitter. While the uncertainty remains, many brands are abstaining from putting their advertisements on the app. 

It is still questionable if it was worth purchasing Twitter as there is now the potential for a lot more backlash against Musk if things go wrong. So, while many things remain up in the air, and there is not yet a set course of action, there will continue to be debates and protests over Twitter’s new rules and ownership. It seems we will have to wait and watch things unfold.