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From Twitter to X: The changes that the social network has undergone in the last year since Musk's purchase was finalized

In 365 days, the social network has managed to change its logo, its name, fired thousands of employees and uncovered improper use.

Elon Musk cambia el nombre de Twitter a X

(Cordon Press)

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A year ago, Elon Musk took over Twitter. It took him months to finalize the purchase. Eventually, he was finally able to post "The bird is freed." 365 days later, the platform has not only been freed, as the businessman claimed at the time, but it got a new name and logo. A large part of its staff was laid off, the company hired a new CEO and even launched paid versions. These have been the most important changes that X (formerly Twitter) has undergone a year after Musk took over.

"The bird is freed"

Elon Musk stepped into Twitter's headquarters on October 27, 2022. He did so in an unusual way, with a bio change on his account that showed his new position: "Chief Twit." His location was also changed to "Twitter HQ." He immortalized his first steps into the building with a video. It showed how Musk walked into Twitter's headquarters, holding a sink, while grinning.

That same day, the businessman sent a letter to the social network's advertisers. In it, he stated that the main reason why he purchased the platform was because he thought it was necessary "to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence."

A day later, Elon Musk officially became the owner of Twitter after paying $44 billion for it. He announced it, again, on his new social network and did so after ensuring that "the bird is freed":

His first major measure: layoffs

After this, the new owner got busy. He fired the company's main executives. Some of those who lost their jobs that day included CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and General Counsel Sean Edgett. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's long-time head of legal affairs, was also let go.

They were the first ones to be fired. But the cuts at Twitter had only just begun. Even before Musk purchased the platform, The Washington Post claimed that he intended to get rid of 75% of the workforce. It didn't take any time at all for the layoffs to go public. Around 1,000 people were laid off by November 3, a week after Musk bought Twitter.

Over the next few days, another 2,700 people were also laid off from the company. All of them were notified by email. A day later, Elon Musk assured that the layoffs were a result of Twitter losing close to $4 million a day:

Regarding Twitter's reduction in force, unfortunately, there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day.

People who kept their jobs, on the other hand, were also notified that they had to return to the office since Twitter would stop allowing its workers to work from home.

First big failure: The verification system

One of the first promises Elon Musk made upon finalizing his purchase was that he would change the platform's verification system. And he did. Twitter Blue was launched and for a price of $8 a month, anyone could have a blue check mark next to their name.

However, the first version had several problems. Fake verified accounts multiplied and the social network had to double-check which was real and which was not. That measure did not help much and within a few hours, Musk claimed that he"killed" the double verification system.

At that time, if users wanted to know whether an account paid for its blue check mark or whether it earned it for its own merits, they had to click on the check mark and a message would appear showing the reason why it had that symbol. Musk assured that the measure was temporary and two days later, he suspended the paid version.

The White House monitors Twitter, Trump's return and Musk's pardons

Musk's purchase of Twitter generated global interest, even at the White House. In November 2022, Karine Jean-Pierre announced that the media that the government had been monitoring the company since Musk took over and that it would continue to do so:

This is something we are certainly keeping an eye on. Look, we have always been very clear that when it comes to social media platforms, it is their responsibility to make sure that when it comes to misinformation when it comes to the hate that we're seeing, that they take action. That they continue to take action ... We're all monitoring what's currently occurring. 

That comment came days after Musk announced that he was unblocking several accounts that had previously been shut down by the company. The first to receive that pardon was former President Donald Trump. After two years, the now-Republican presidential candidate got his profile back on the social network on November 20, 2022. Musk announced that, after surveying users, the former president would regain access to the social network:

The 'Twitter Files' arrive: First installment, censorship on Hunter Biden's laptop

On December 3, 2022, Musk started what is now known as "Twitter Files." In the first of these, the businessman, with the help of U.S. journalist Matthew C. Taibbi, uncovered that the case of Hunter Biden's laptop had been censored.

The thread revealed that Twitter had manipulated information about the case, going so far as to publish fake evidence about it. Moreover, the U.S. journalist said that to prevent the case from coming to light, methods that are only used "extraordinarily" in child pornography cases were employed.

Following this, investigations into the Hunter Biden case continued. First, the role of the FBI in the entire scheme was investigated. Then Congress got involved and said it would question Twitter staff for censoring the story.

But the leaks continued and next up was Yoel Roth, Twitter's former chief security officer. He stated that they had meetings with the FBI and that during those talks, the government agency encouraged them to censor the story. Eventually, Musk decided to , the company's top lawyer following, what the Twitter owner claims were, "concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue."

The second installment of 'Twitter Files': A "blacklist" to limit user reach

Katie Hobbs' office was a big part of the second installment of the "Twitter Files." As revealed on December 5, Arizona Governor-elect Katie Hobbs' administration asked Twitter to censor several tweets to silence her political opponents before the midterms.

Musk turned to former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss to publish the second batch of leaks about Twitter activity before his purchase went through. This time the leak focused mainly on proving there was a secret "blacklist" which was used to disadvantage certain users by limiting the visibility of their tweets.

People affected by the "blacklisting" include Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine; economics and politics at Stanford University and a denier of some of the measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic; talk show host, Dan Bongino; and activist Charlie Kirk.

Donald Trump, star of the third, fourth and fifth installments of the 'Twitter Files'

Donald Trump was the clear star of both the third and fourth installments of the "Twitter Files." In the third installment, and again with the help of American journalist Matt Taibi, Musk revealed the details behind the censorship of the former Republican president:

This first part focused on the days leading up to what happened on Capitol Hill. It explained how a "visibility filter" was applied to all of Trump's posts.

The fourth installment also focused on Donald Trump. It was written by journalist Michael Shellenberger and revealed how the platform modified part of its policies to censor Trump for life.

This time it explained the decisions that were made after what happened on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, and revealed that "as pressure mounts, Twitter executives build the case for a permanent ban."

The fifth installment, written by journalist Beri Weiss, focused solely on shutting down Donald Trump's account. The thread started on the morning of January 8, 2021. It included internal messages that revealed that the staff assigned to assess the case evaluated the tweets and decided where they could be censored as "incitement." However, it was concluded that, at the time, Trump had not violated any of Twitter's policies.

Musk exposes Yoel Roth

Twitter's former head of security and trust, Yoel Roth, became Elon Musk's target on December 10. That was when the entrepreneur decided to publish an excerpt from Roth's doctoral dissertation from 2016 while he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania. That writing, which Roth titled "Gay Data," was the proof Musk needed to suggest that the former Twitter employee was in favor of children having access to dating apps.

New verification system: Three colored check marks

In December 2022, Musk tried his luck again with his controversial verification system. This time, to avoid problems, he proposed that there be three different colored check marks so that the function of each one is clear: gold will be used for companies and the media; gray will be used for government entities and other institutions and the standard blue check mark will be used by individuals, whether they are celebrities or not.

X gold verification system for companies, blue for users and gray for government agencies.

(Medium Voice / Freepik)

To ensure that the accounts are real, a check mark may disappear until the account can be verified again by the company. This commonly happens after an account changes its profile name, photo or username.

In addition, Musk announced that anyone who was verified before he acquired the company, whether because they were a journalist, celebrity or public figure, would lose their verification if they did not pay for Twitter Blue, something that, months later, they fulfilled.

Fewer ads, longer tweets and price increases on certain devices

This is not the only new feature of Twitter Blue. The company also announced a price increase for users who purchase the paid version on iOS devices (i.e. Apple devices) from $8 to $11 per month. The price for other devices would remain at $8 per month, as announced by Twitter:

In addition, those who pay for the paid version will not only get a blue check mark, but they will also get fewer ads. They will also be able to share 1080p and longer videos, and they will be able to access what is known as "Reader mode," a version that gets rid of clutter and distractions and includes support for users with dyslexia. Along with this, they will also be the first to enjoy Twitter's new character limit which is increasing from 280 to 4,000.

Sixth and seventh installment of the 'Twitter Files': The FBI in the spotlight

In December 2022, Elon Musk continued his "Twitter Files." He did so by announcing that he would deliver “the final blow” with the sixth installment of the Twitter files called “The FBI Subsidiary.”

This time all the information was published by journalist Matt Taibbi, who started the thread by explaining that it would focus on revealing how the government was collecting, analyzing and even flagging social media content. Matt highlighted the contact between Twitter and the FBI. It was so constant that the communications company seemed like a kind of “subsidiary”: "Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were more than 150 emails between the FBI and Twitter's former head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth."

The seventh installment of these Twitter Files focused entirely on the role that kept the FBI when it came to censoring the story about Hunter Biden's laptop. Journalist Michael Shellenberger, one of Musk's regulars, released the installment.

The eighth and ninth installments, Wikipedia recalls, focused on the relationship that the United States government had with the social network. It revealed how the social network had influenced the elections in several countries such as Yemen, Syria and Kuwait.

Elon Musk announces that he will step down from his position as CEO

In mid-December, Elon Musk surveyed users on Twitter again. This time, the owner of the social network asked if he should step down from his position as CEO. The results were clear: 57.5% wanted him to resign, compared to 42.5% who wanted Musk to continue in the position. No less than 17,502,391 users voted in the poll. The verdict marked the end of Elon Musk's time leading the company:

Surprisingly, people asked him to take a step back and he, as he did in each of the previous polls, listened to them. From that moment on, the search began for a new executive director for the social network.

The tenth installment of the 'Twitter Files': Misinformation about COVID-19

At the end of 2022, the "Twitter Files" once again made headlines. This time it focused on how the social network manipulated information about COVID-19.

Journalist David Zweig revealed the details. He began with a post claiming that Twitter not only censored users, but also discredited doctors and experts. According to the thread, the government was, once again, involved in the manipulation that took place on Twitter and other social media platforms.

A month later, it was revealed how the large pharmaceutical companies that manufactured vaccines against COVID-19 pressured Twitter to censor activists who asked for generic vaccines for underdeveloped countries.

According to journalist Lee Fang's posts, in 2020 there was an international agreement to release information on coronavirus vaccines to the public. The intention was to be able to create generic and low-cost options so that poorer countries could have greater access to them and quickly work to get the health crisis under control.

More layoffs at Twitter

In February of this year, the social network resumed layoffs and let go of 10% of the social network's total workforce. Two hundred workers lost their jobs, including the head of the paid version that Musk had implemented. She confirmed she was laid off in a post on the social network:

Linda Yaccarino, new CEO of Twitter

On May 12, 2023, Elon Musk announced that he hired his successor. In addition, he announced that his replacement was a woman and that she would start in just six weeks. Along with this, Musk also announced new developments on the platform. The first of them is a new name. Twitter Inc. would be renamed X Corp. In addition, he also announced his new position in the company: "My role will transition to being executive chair and CTO, overseeing product, software and sysops," he explained.

Hours later, Elon Musk announced that publicist Linda Yaccarino would take over as CEO. Musk revealed that Yaccarino would focus on commercial operations, while he would be in charge of product design and new technologies. Their goal was to "transform the platform into X, the everything app," he said.

Yaccarino officially took over on June 12. She announced what led her to accept the position of CEO. Yaccarino explained that her decision to join the social network was motivated by her deep admiration for the company's former director: "Elon knew that space exploration and electric vehicles needed a transformation, so he did it."

Musk's mission then expanded to include the media. That's where, the board explains, Twitter came into play: "It's also becoming clear that the global city square needs a transformation, to drive civilization through the unfiltered exchange of information and open dialogue about the things that matter most to us."

A fight between billionaires: Musk challenges Zuckerberg to a cage match

At the end of June, Elon Musk challenged Zuckerberg to a cage match. Musk posted on his social network that he was up for a catch match with Meta's CEO. He did so after a user hinted that Zuckerberg might launch a social network to rival Twitter, called Threads.

To this, Musk replied, in a tongue-in-cheek tone, that this was just one more move proving that "Earth can't wait to be exclusively under Zuck's control with no other options." Another user wrote, "Be careful, Elon Musk, I hear he's practicing jiu-jitsu now."

Zuckerberg heard about the challenge and he did not hesitate to accept. He did so through his other social network, Instagram. There, he replied to Musk in his story: "Send me location."

Screenshot of the story of Mark Zuckerberg answering Elon Musk about the possible fight in a cage.

(Screenshot / Instagram: Zuck).

After this, the two went back and forth in one of the most followed stories of the summer. After the fight was confirmed, they decided that it would take place in the Roman Colosseum, although Las Vegas Octogon had been considered before and both CEOs began to train. However, the fight has not taken place yet and does not seem like it will happen anytime soon, as it does not have an official date, something that Zuckerberg has criticized.

Name and logo change: Goodbye to Larry the bird and hello to X

Musk announced at the end of July that he intended to change the well-known bird for a new logo: an X. The letter, he explained, has a special meaning for him. However, the big change came when word got out that we would have to say goodbye to Larry, the bird, which will be replaced by a new logo.

Days later, both Musk and the executive director of the social network, Linda Yaccarino, announced on their profiles that the social network, from that moment on, would be called X. To celebrate the beginning of the new stage, the new logo, an X, was projected on the front of the company's headquarters. The domain "x.com" now also leads to "twitter.com."

X doubles the cost of gold verification for companies

In August of this year, the social network X, formerly known as Twitter, took another step that angered companies. It announced that companies that want a golden check mark will have to pay double what they used to do to keep it.

Until then, this verification had cost companies up to $1,000 a month. The price remains unchanged but Elon Musk decided to put a condition for companies wishing to keep this golden label: as of August 7, if they do not spend the same amount as it costs to get the check mark ($1,000) on monthly advertising on the social network, they will lose their verification.

The news was released by the Wall Street Journal which reported that several companies in the UK and nationwide had received a letter from X informing them of these changes so that they could keep the gold check mark. X announced that companies that had not spent $1,000 in the last 30 days or $6,000 in the last 180 would lose their check mark.

Twitter bird auctioned off

The Twitter era was coming to an end in August of this year. After changing the logo and name of the well-known social network, Elon Musk decided to completely do away with the platform's old identity. To this end, he decided to get rid of all items that might remind him of the old brand and has teamed up with the company Heritage Global Partners to auction off items, including the bird that was on the outside of the San Francisco office.

The bidding will begin on September 12 and will include a total of 584 items including a large birdcage welded with a bird with the Twitter logo, numerous statues of the hashtags and "@" icons, a painting of the viral selfie that Ellen DeGeneres posted on the social network during the 2014 Oscars, another painting of Barack Obama celebrating his re-election and numerous musical instruments.

There are also several logos of Larry, the Twitter bird in the auction. However, in a couple of them, the auction house warns, the winning bidder will have to work to engage an "SF licensed company with the appropriate permits."


Elon Musk claimed last September that he is considering making X (formerly Twitter) payment-based. He met with Benjamin Netanyahu and they both hosted a press conference where Musk announced this novelty:

It didn't take long for the tests to begin. X began implementing its paid version just a few weeks ago. It did so in New Zealand and the Philippines. The social network announced that new users would have to pay $1 annually to be able to post on the social network. However, those people who already had an account previously would continue to enjoy the benefits for free. The platform confirmed the news hours later:

X announces that it will include calls and video calls

At the end of August, the social network announced a new update, a novelty that will allow it to compete directly with WhatsApp: the social network will allow users to make calls and video calls.

According to Musk, this option can be used on iOS (Apple), Android, Mac and PC devices. In addition, unlike other services such as WhatsApp, it will not be necessary for the user to have a cell phone number, since it will be linked to their X profile. Musk claims that his social network is "the effective global address agenda." All this, he explained, creates a "unique set of factors" that allow X to take that new step.

This Wednesday, just three days before the first anniversary of Musk buying Twitter (now X), the platform launched this new modality: Elon Musk reported that this new tool for making audio and video calls has already begun to be implemented. He explained in a post on Wednesday how to enable the new function.

In addition, Musk explained that this is an early version, which could mean that there could be changes. "Early version of video and audio callings on X," wrote the platform's owner.

A year later, platform use is down

So many changes have not been viewed favorably by Twitter users. Axios reported that usage of the platform has dropped considerably in the last year. A survey carried out by Sensor Tower revealed that the app has been downloaded 38% less between October 2022 and September 2023. Of that 38%, 57% belongs solely to downloads in the United States.

Sensor Tower claims that the use of the social network has also fallen, although less noticeably than downloads. Monthly use fell by 14.8% globally and 17.8% in the United States, although this data only pertains to the month of September. However, they show that the changes that X has undergone have not been enough to keep users on the platform.