By Juan Pablo Romano, Engineering Manager of Adviters
Twitter no longer exists
Twitter no longer exists, and it has been replaced by an X. Why an X? Well, let us explain why.
This week, Twitter, which was acquired this year (2023) by Elon Musk, has changed its name, corporation, and brand identity to X.
Yes, an X as the logo, name, and even the action of «tweeting.» This change has generated controversy among several users and admiration from others. However, it is not just a cosmetic change aligning with Elon Musk’s companies’ aesthetics; it also comes with various benefits for users and content creators, along with some functional changes on the platform, which we will discuss below.
- The domain of Twitter will be renamed to x.com.
- It is believed that followers will be called viewers.
- Payments will be made to creators for profile visits without the need for a massive audience or a subscription button.
- Shared advertising, previously available only in the USA and some European countries, will now be accessible in more than 100 countries.
- Improvements will be made to the bookmarking system (currently very poor). The new system will work from the timeline, include a bookmark search feature, and users will receive their saved bookmarks weekly via e-mail.
- The application of shadowbans will be made transparent. Users were aware of its existence but never explained why or how it works. Now, users will not only see when it is active but also the reason and possible solutions to avoid shadowbanning.
- Bots will be limited, even if they are verified, with the aim of eliminating scams.
- New highlights will be introduced, although the feature already exists, not many users utilize it. At one point, Twitter’s lead designer publicly stated that she does not like it.
Furthermore, one of the objectives for which Elon Musk acquired Twitter is to transform it or use its vast user base to create a platform that competes with WeChat.
What is his purpose?
In other words, he aims to create the first real super app in the Western world, or better known as «X, the everything app.» Therefore, in the future, we might see the incorporation of payment features, instant messaging not like twitter direct messages right now but more like a WhatsApp platform, games, online shopping, and more within the platform. The vision is to make it a comprehensive and multifunctional app that caters to various aspects of users’ lives.
If it succeeds, we would not only be talking about the world’s largest Fintech company but also a transformation of the financial system as we know it. Just as we use different local wallets in our daily lives, X would become a digital wallet or bank with users in all the places where Twitter exists, which is practically all of the Western world and several parts of Asia.
But let’s make a little bit of some history.
Where does the idea of X.com come from?
It was March of the year 1999, and Elon Musk, who had just sold his first company, Zip2, to Compaq, invested $12 million to co-found x.com along with Harris Fricker, Christopher Payne, and Ed Ho, with whom he had worked while employed at the Bank of Nova Scotia.
The company initially operated in a small apartment where the website ran during the day, and at night, they used the servers to write code and implement necessary fixes.
After five months of starting the company, Musk fired Fricker due to conflicts in managing the company, and a few months later, the other two co-founders chose to resign.
On December 7, 1999, X.com was officially launched and relocated its offices to Palo Alto, California. In March 2000, one year after the initial investment, X.com merged with Confinity, a company providing similar services and a direct competitor led by Peter Thiel (early board member in Facebook, Spotify, etc).
In December 2000, while Musk was on his honeymoon, the board voted to change the CEO and awarded the role to Peter Thiel. X.com was renamed PayPal, and the idea of the digital bank X and the «everything app» vanished.
In the following years, Musk went on to create other companies until in 2017, he bought the domain x.com back from PayPal for an undisclosed sum of money, stating that it had «a great sentimental value.»
From July 2017 to July 2023, the domain X.com only had an HTML file with an X in the upper left corner and an error 404 page showing a Y. For a brief period, x.com redirected to The Boring Company.
It wasn’t until the first half of 2023 that the concept of «X, the everything app» reappeared, initially as a shell company called X Corp. In April of this year, it absorbed Twitter Inc, and its parent company is The X Holding, another shell company used to obtain a bank loan of about $13 million to consolidate all of Musk’s companies under one business holding.
In other words, The X Holding would not only own Twitter, now called X, but also other companies like Tesla Motors, SpaceX, The Boring Company, SolarCity, AI.X, etc.
The change of Twitter to X, represents a significant transformation for the platform. With the adoption of a new identity and a series of improvements in functionality, the company aims to enhance the user experience, provide more opportunities for content creators, and expand its advertising reach globally.
Musk’s vision to turn X into an «everything app» that competes with WeChat demonstrates ambitious goals for the company. If successful, we could witness a potential revolution in the financial system and the world of applications, offering a wide range of services beyond social media.
The history of X.com, now X, dates back to Elon Musk’s early ventures in the business world, although the initial idea of a digital bank took a backseat with the creation of PayPal. However, the return of the name X and its evolution as part of a broad business holding illustrates a new phase in Musk’s strategy.
In conclusion, the change to X represents a significant evolution for the platform, aiming to expand its reach and provide new opportunities for users and content creators. The future of X as a super app with a broad spectrum of services is an ambitious goal, and time will tell if it materializes into a significant transformation of the technological and financial landscape.
“Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance”
“Elon Musk just changed Twitter’s name to ‘X.’ His old text messages hint at what his vision for an ‘everything app’ might look like.” (https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-x-everything-app-twitter-details-2022-10)
“X Corp – Wikipedia” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_Corp.)
“xAI (Company) – Wikipedia” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XAI_(company))
“x.com – Wikipedia” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X.com)