The Downfall of the Blue Bird; Twitter’s Ugly Musk Mess


James Duncan Davidson

Disastrous Decision: Elon Musk finalizes his plans to buy Twitter

Eshmom Haque, Staff Writer

From Nov. 4 to Nov. 8, Elon Musk sold 19.5 million Tesla shares to acquire Twitter for $44 billion. Stemming from Musk’s evaluation that the company is losing $3 million a day, he believes that he has the answer to solving Twitter’s inability to profit. However, Twitter’s new era under Elon Musk will drown out creativity, spread misinformation, and hurt Twitter’s market share due to his attempts to keep up his carefree online persona. 


One of the first things Musk forcefully introduced to the platform was the new approach to verification with Twitter Blue. In the old system, public figures, scholars, journalists, and artists were verified through Twitter’s management to get a check mark next to their name on their tweets and bio, which confirmed their legitimacy. Twitter Blue’s system gives you the check mark if you pay a subscription fee, so anyone can get one without proving their identity. 


Although the policy may ostensibly allow the platform to generate income, it’ll put a price on free speech and creativity. Twitter Blue’s check mark will prioritize verified tweet replies over unverified tweets. If a person wants their voice not drowned out, they need to cough up $8 each month. The new policy will also jeopardize Twitter’s vast art community, as the algorithm would squash relatively unknown artists who previously thrived under Twitter’s old system. 


Not only will this drown out Twitter’s creative atmosphere, but it’ll also lead to swathes of misinformation, hate speech, and trolling. In a conference with stockholders, Musk told them that the $8 subscription fee would stop trolls, as they would not pay just to get their accounts suspended over and over again. This did not hold true in practice. The Network Contagion Research Institute, an independent group that combats cyber-social threats, stated that the usage of the N-word rose 500% 12 hours after Musk’s take over. Musk’s policy also opened the door for the impersonation of corporations and figures like himself and Eli Lilly and Co, a pharmaceutical company that produces insulin. Even though the impersonations of Elon were taken down quickly, the impersonation of Eli Lilly and Co made the stock plummet after a troll stated that “insulin is free.”


The pricing of Twitter Blue was another misstep and further solidified Elon Musk’s incompetency. Originally, Musk tweeted that the subscription price would be $20, but he lowered it to $8 after replying to a Stephen King tweet saying that he wouldn’t pay the amount. Changing the price on a whim proved to the public that the subscription price was arbitrary and Elon didn’t consult with his advisors on it. Although this move contributed to Elon’s “I can do what I want” philosophy, it scared stockholders and advertisers. 


With these ill-advised changes, Musk’s wish to increase Twitter’s revenue has not come true. Companies like Chipotle, United Airlines, General Mills, Pfizer, Audi, and Volkswagen have withdrawn from Twitter advertising because of Musk’s behavior. Apple has also signaled to remove Twitter from the IOS app store. Even with Twitter Blue, Twitter needs advertisers to generate profit, and Musk’s erratic behavior will drive even more advertisers away. 


Elon’s carefree attitude has tanked Twitter’s price, as investors don’t trust Elon’s hasty and risky decisions. The changes to one of the largest social media platforms will inevitably cause migration to platforms like Tumblr, Mastodon, Gab, and Truth Social, that will try to imitate its former glory. Only time will tell if these alternatives take over Twitter’s market share.