BusinessWhy was Twitter renamed X?

Why was Twitter renamed X?

A lot has happened in the world of social media in recent months. Threads, Twitter’s biggest competitor, was launched, prompting Elon Musk to threaten to sue Zuckerberg (the CEO of Meta, the company that owns Threads).

In the wake of this dispute, Musk has now decided to change Twitter’s name completely, doing away with the distinctive blue bird and calling the same product “X” instead.

But why has he done this – and what does it mean for the social media of the future? In this article, we get to the bottom of it!

Twitter becomes X: What happened?

The opening credits: Elon Musk bought Twitter in April 2022 for 44 billion US dollars.

He then made several changes to the platform, including the introduction of a paid subscription (Twitter Blue) for access to premium features.

Twitter users have reported that the platform has felt increasingly toxic since Musk’s takeover and that it is now much easier to “spread fake news”.

There was also a change that restricted the free use of Twitter: When a message saying “rate limit exceeded” was displayed, the free usage ended, much to the regret of users.

The biggest change, however, was the name change and the complete rebranding.

Instead of the white bird on a light blue background that had been the logo for 17 years, the branding is now a black “X” with a white stripe in the center.

The change was made on 24 July 2023, and a giant X was also installed on the company’s headquarters as part of the change.

Everything from the reorganization of the company to the giant X itself has caused great discussion and controversy around the world. The giant flashing X has led to complaints because of its intrusive lights, and an inspection suggests it may be in breach of license conditions – Twitter representatives have not allowed the authorities to take a look at the logo!

Added to this is the growing resentment at the vast amounts of fake news now being spread via Twitter and the need to use paid payment services to spend any time at all on and with the app. So it’s no surprise that the whole world is watching Musk’s actions closely to see what moves he will make next!

Why X in particular?

Officially, Musk has announced that the name was changed because “X Corp acquired Twitter to ensure freedom of speech.” (tweeted by Elon Musk).

It has even been reported that he wants to make significant changes to the platform and turn it into a “WeChat for the West”. WeChat is a Chinese app that is primarily known for its messaging function – but also for social media, payment services, food delivery, transport tickets, and much more. It is used by 827.2 million people in China – that’s 58.9% of the population.

Elon Musk has long had a connection to the letter X – here are just some of the companies (and people!) he has named after this letter:

  • PayPal, Elon Musk’s first startup, was called X.com
  • An artificial intelligence app he called xAI
  • The Tesla Model X
  • SpaceX
  • His son – who is named X Æ A-Xii, which is pronounced as “X”

The threat of “threads”

It’s hard not to see that this renaming is timely. “Threads”, the only serious competitor to X, was launched on 5 July 2023 and offered a very similar user experience.

Threads is owned by Meta, the same company that owns Instagram and Facebook, and the app was praised to the skies in the early days for how easy it was to sign up via Instagram.

There was a lot of talk about Threads being a “less toxic” version of Twitter. Some people known for making false claims were even targeted; the app recommended unfollowing people who spread fake news on Twitter and other platforms.

However, Threads’ value has fallen by 70% since its peak on 7 July, and it is uncertain whether it will remain a long-term rival to Twitter (or X).

Other threats to X

Of course, Threads could be a real threat if it wins back some of the lost customer loyalty – especially as many millennials have said they liked the Threads app better.

But that’s not the only concern for X.

Indonesia has already banned the app, as the domain was previously used for pornographic purposes and gambling (notably, casino games and other forms of gambling are generally banned in Indonesia, but you can enjoy playing pokies in online casino and get amazing offers like Stay casino free chips).

If other countries follow suit – there are many where pornography and gambling are equally illegal – X may not be able to achieve the real-time global social media presence he is aiming for.

Furthermore, Twitter has lost more and more users in recent years. Many stated that the prevailing culture was one reason why they had abandoned the app.

The final thoughts

At the moment, the future of Twitter, X, and Threads is uncertain.

Will X become the new WeChat? Will Threads (and Zuckerberg) take over supremacy? Will Musk succeed in suing Meta and winning in court?

It’s hard to say what the next steps of the tech billionaires will be, but a lot will certainly change in the next few years.

Twitter owner Elon Musk is renaming the short message service X. The famous logo has already been changed: An X now replaces the blue Twitter bird. The short message service Twitter is being renamed X and has changed its logo. “X is here! Here we go,” wrote the company’s CEO, Lina Yaccarino, on Twitter last night. And Twitter owner Elon Musk has already changed his profile picture to a white X on a black background. Musk had previously hinted at accelerating the planned reorganization of Twitter into a multifunctional app. “We will soon say goodbye to the Twitter brand and, step by step, to all the birds,” he said on Saturday evening. The Twitter logo previously consisted of a blue bird on a white background. Anyone entering the web address www.x.com will now be redirected to the Twitter website.

New app and subscription modelWith the renaming, Musk has dropped a more than 15-year-old brand with a global reputation and high recognition value. The multi-billionaire Musk bought Twitter last October for around 44 billion dollars and made many employees redundant, and in the spring of this year, he merged the online service into a new company called X Corp. He also announced a new app that will also function as a payment service provider and online marketplace. Musk is also focussing more on the subscription business.

An Apple iPhone screen shows the Threads app next to the Twitter app.

Revenues halvedIn economic terms, things are not going well for Twitter at the moment: Musk recently admitted that Twitter’s advertising revenues have halved since the takeover. Advertising revenue has traditionally been the service’s main source of income. Some major advertisers have left the service because they fear a more negative environment for their brands under Musk, who has reduced the moderation of the content disseminated there. To reassure advertisers, he appointed the experienced manager Linda Yaccarino, who was previously responsible for the advertising business at media giant NBCUniversal, to the position of Twitter CEO.

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