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Twitter: Chaotic takeover drives platform over the edge

Since Musk launch its first bid to acquire Twitter in April 2022, the platform is yet to have a quite week. After almost seven months of controversial legal battle, it looked like things could only get better once Musk had taken control of the social media platform, but it has been quite the contrary. During all this time, Musk appeared in public repeatedly exposing the social network’s shortcomings that were leading to its decay; fired key decision-makers like previous CEO Parag Agrawal and policy director Vijaya Gadde; and pledged to turn upside-down the content moderation department. Such disdain for keeping up appearances and maintaining some of the status quo that attracted advertisers in the first place, could severely harm the platform financial results in the short-term, unless revenue starts coming from elsewhere.

One of the first changes proposed by the new CEO was to charge users for the blue check that indicates that the account is verified, as a fresh revenue stream would reduce the reliance of the social network on its advertisers. This plan backfired immensely right off the bat, with the platform becoming overpopulated with fake verified accounts impersonating companies and public personalities.

Another dragging issue for the social media platform is its operating costs, and in an attempt to tackle this issue, Twitter announced massive layoffs, as did most tech companies. However, what Twitter did differently was to demand those staying in the company to “go hard core” and work intensely or leave the company. This changes in working conditions led to an employee exodus that was said to have caused the largest amount of site crashes being reported since the platform went mainstream.

A significant chunk of Twitter’s user base, disappointed at the direction that the platform may be taking under Musk, has started considering other social networks to move their social media presence, like Mastodon. A decentralized social network, given the lack of central authority, grants much better privacy to its users, lacks censorship regulations, and intends to run on economic neutrality. Also, being an OpenSource platform, allows for any individuals or groups to develop their own platform with their own rules for content moderation, registration and engagement. Although the fact that each user can only instantly share and access posts in its same server, may drive away some users from decentralized platforms, and in turn help Twitter retain the largest part of its user base.

A flawed business strategy may be notably pricy amid the current economic landscape for the big tech sector. Considering this very delicate situation that the social media platform is in, it can’t afford to share its top executive with so many other evolving enterprises, like Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink.