“Goodbye little blue bird”. This morning, the famous Twitter logo gave way to an X. A reference to Elon Musk's new company, X Corp, which now designates the official name of the platform, accompanied by the URL X.com and no longer twitter.com. Just over eighteen months after buying Twitter for $44 billion, the billionaire continues to transform the social network. Back on the major changes that the boss of Tesla has driven to the platform.
The billionaire's main project: to make the paid subscription Twitter Blue, launched last November, a must-have on the social network. The subscription model must enable the social network to become profitable. But since the takeover, advertisers have fled en masse. In January 2023, the social network's advertising revenue was in freefall: - 89% in the United States and - 80% in France.
To impose Twitter Blue, the company is gradually paying for features that were once free. First victim, the certification check mark. This was paid for last April, for the sum of 8 dollars per month (9.60 euros). It takes 1150 dollars to get the golden one. Companies must now pay 950 euros per month and add 50 euros per additional account, such as those of their employees.
This symbol was until then a pledge of notoriety which had been distributed free of charge by Twitter to nearly 600,000 people, companies and public institutions around the world. Faced with the sling, the social network will end up offering some exemptions to the 500 largest advertisers present on the platforms and to the 10,000 accounts of the most popular companies and institutions.
Another target in Elon Musk's sights is the use of his data without financial compensation by companies that train large AI models. It is with this argument that the Twitter teams justified, last February, the sudden monetization of their API (programming interface), which was also previously free. Indeed, generative artificial intelligence (AI) relies on large language models that require large databases, such as user discussions on social networks such as Twitter, to be trained.
Elon Musk suspects Open AI, a Microsoft partner and creator of the ChatGPT tool, of having used its database extensively. "Twitter data is one of the most powerful datasets in the world," argues Elon Musk's network. The billionaire responded by creating his own artificial intelligence start-up on March 9, called X.AI.
However, the API is necessary to be able to "connect" a service like that of Twitter to another service of a company, in order to exchange data and functionalities. The API also makes it possible to create bots (or robots), which automatically publish Tweets dedicated to the weather, for example, or others, such as “ThreadReader”, which are used to more easily read message threads posted by users. These third-party applications are often designed, on a voluntary basis, by moderators and the paid access to the API makes their development more difficult, if not impossible.
Among these software designed to make using Twitter easier, the TweetDeck application has become essential for many users. Launched in 2008 and bought by the social network in 2011, it makes it possible to consult and generate lists of several Twitter accounts, according to specific themes.
At the beginning of July, the use of TweetDeck is made impossible. Lists no longer update. A few days earlier, the number of visible tweets per day had been limited to 1,000 to cope with “extreme levels of data collection and system manipulation”. Subscribers to the paid formula were only limited to 10,000.
In the process, Twitter confirms the temporary suspension of TweetDeck and affirms that it will now be necessary to be certified - and therefore pay - to access the software, supposed to have had a facelift. Again, the company intends to encourage users to take out a Twitter Blue subscription. These changes were originally announced for early August, but were pushed back after the launch of Threads, Twitter's competing social network designed by Meta and made available in over 100 countries on July 5.
Another find of the billionaire to subscribe Internet users to a subscription: gradually limit the number of private messages that users can send to each other. Since Saturday, private messages are limited daily - the number was not specified by the firm - except for subscribers.
Twitter introduced the measure last Friday, as part of its plan to reduce the number of unwanted messages and spam received by its users.
Last change to date and not the least, the transformation of the historical logo of the platform. Since this morning, an "X", in reference to X Corp, has replaced the famous blue bird. “Twitter made a huge impression and changed the way we communicate. Now X will go further,” said new Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino. “Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we are only just beginning to imagine,” she continues, in a series of Tweets.
Nevertheless, many see it as a way for Elon Musk to respond to competition from Mark Zuckerberg, boss of Meta, with his own Threads platform. And, above all, the advent of the paid era of the social network, which has lost nearly half of its advertising revenue since its takeover. Advertisers believe that the social network, through its lack of moderation, has become uncontrollable in these exchanges.