It’s not just the name that has changed. Since the takeover, the billionaire has significantly restructured the company – with consequences.
How successful is X? It is difficult to judge this from the outside. With the acquisition, Elon Musk took the company off the stock exchange and has since provided little information on the company’s numbers. Advertising is the central source of income. Advertising revenues have fallen by more than half since the acquisition, as Musk himself admitted. Now, among other things, he is trying to expand paid subscriptions and other income channels. According to estimates, the number of users decreased by between 5 and 15 percent.
Has the discourse on the platform changed? Yes. Background: According to Musk, 1,500 of the approximately 8,000 jobs remain, and many of those laid off were working in the areas of content moderation and combating misinformation. “There is more hate speech, more misinformation, and a more aggressive and polarized mood,” says Adrienne Fichter, a technology journalist at the online magazine Republic. It’s not just X that has to suffer from this, though: “Compared to other platforms,
What about freedom of expression? Musk has always emphasized that he wants to ensure more freedom of expression. “For him, freedom of expression means that anyone can say whatever they want without any censorship at all – even if it is at the expense of others,” says Philipp Bachmann, a media economics expert at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences. This puts Musk in conflict with regulators in the European Union. This has been the case in the EU since the end of 2022 Daily subsistence allowance (Digital Service Law) comes into effect. This includes, among other things, content moderation rules and transparency regulations. In this context, the European Union Commissioner recently raised Thierry Breton accusationIllegal content and misinformation also spread on X regarding Hamas’ attack on Israel.
But there is no complete freedom of expression even under Musk. He has released previously banned accounts, such as Donald Trump’s. At the same time, he blocked accounts that did not suit him.
What has changed for researchers? In some studies they use data from social media. They analyze user behavior, posts, and photos. Twitter used to give them relatively easy access to relevant interfaces. This has become more difficult under Musk, says media economist Bachmann regretfully: “Former Twitter leaders said they really appreciated it. Because it was through this exchange that they became aware of unwanted developments. This mutual cooperation is no longer possible.”
Can Musk bring back advertisers who have dropped out? This is questionable, says Silke Bambauer-Sachs, a marketing professor at the University of Freiburg. “X is trying hard to win back lost advertising customers with deep discounts.” But the question that arises is whether that is enough. “Advertisers have pulled out because of image problems. The image has to stabilize first.”
What does Musk want from X? Despite these issues, Musk repeatedly alludes to and mentions his goals for the platform as one of them The reason for changing the Twitter name to X. Specifically: He seems to envision an “everything app” along the lines of China’s WeChat. Using this app, you can chat, make payments, book doctor appointments, taxis, and handle financial services. One day, you should be able to do that with X. At least if Elon Musk gets his way.
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