Elon Musk is Bringing a Disastrous End to Twitter

Jei Jandura and Melanie Jandura

Twitter is a social media platform that many people, not only at our school but also across the world, use on a regular basis. However, Twitter has been facing a downward spiral since Elon Musk purchased the company and started putting new policies into place meant to encourage his ideas of free speech. But not only have the changes made it difficult to identify real vs fake accounts, they also could cause the app to fully collapse. We believe that Musk taking over Twitter is one of the biggest errors he’s ever made, and there are plenty. Musk’s decision to buy Twitter has been followed by nothing but mistake after mistake that has turned Twitter into a shadow of its former self.

On Oct. 24, Musk closed a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter after previously joking about purchasing it back in April 2022. Immediately after Twitter saw new ownership by Musk, the company experienced a mass firing that got rid of half the 7,500 workers, including top executives. 

The mass firing occurred because Musk knew very well that the company was not worth the $44 billion price tag that he paid, with the company having a market cap of only $31.34 billion and a networth of $13.316 billion. So in his mind, the quickest way to make Twitter profitable would be to downsize the company. Downsizing would mean firing any employees whose job titles overlapped with another worker in order to maximize the amount of work being done while minimizing the amount of money that he would need to pay in wages, a classic CEO move. 

With a far smaller moderation team, Musk took to Twitter to declare “Comedy is now legal.” What resulted was a spike in hateful language, including a 500% increase in the usage of the n-word. What made the already chaotic situation even worse was the new verification feature that allowed someone to get a checkmark by their name with an $8 subscription. The issue with being able to buy a verification symbol is that it becomes much more difficult to tell apart actual celebrities, corporations, etc from fake accounts. Originally, someone could only be verified if they were checked for authenticity but that went completely out the window in order to make profit.

Much like the mass firing, the subscription was meant to try to make Musk some money so he wouldn’t go bankrupt after his horrible deal. Another reason for the subscription service was to limit the number of trolls and spammers that appeared on the site because, in Musk’s mind, $8 a month is just too much for the common day internet troll to afford.

We can clearly see that his idea fell apart from the countless fake accounts that were made soon after the new feature was added. One notable case was someone impersonating Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical brand. In the fake tweet, the company stated that they are “excited to announce insulin is free now.” The news excited people across the nation who believed there was finally going to be access to the life-saving hormone. However, this was far from the case, and Eli Lilly’s stock price fell 4.7%, most likely resulting from investors believing that the company would not be as profitable in the future, causing a mass selling of stocks. 

The fake Eli Lilly tweet that caused major disruption to their stock. (Twitter.com)

Because of the backlash and issues that came with the old system, Musk will soon be introducing a more complicated verification policy that still lets people pay for a subscription but now the checkmark is color coded depending on the account type. However, this will still not do much to fix troll accounts pretending to be big names. Although the account will be checked for authenticity before showing the verification symbol, individuals will have the same color check mark as celebrities which means the two could still be easily confused.

The culmination of all the failures that Twitter has been experiencing has resulted in big investors and advertisers pulling funds from the social media platform, a move that could result in Twitter going bankrupt. And frankly, what did Musk expect was going to happen? He allowed the platform to plunge into near anarchy and then acted surprised when companies started to believe that Twitter might not be the best place to advertise if they want to keep a positive image. Twitter’s biggest advertiser, Apple, has pulled out of their partnership and has (according to Musk himself) started to threaten to pull the app from the app store in order to damage the social media site further.

With so many companies pulling away from Twitter, including Nestle, Verizon, and the Kraft Heinz Company, people are seriously starting to believe that Twitter may come to an end, with Musk himself stating that bankruptcy is a serious possibility. Not many people are talking about the consequences that could come with losing Twitter, even though it could result in a major social transition. 

Twitter is the third most popular social media site in the United States. Despite not being the largest, Twitter is one of the most influential sites. It has a broader age range when compared to Facebook and is built to allow the common man to have a more direct line of communication with celebrities and government officials, something that is missing from popular apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Whatsapp. News sites from across the world use Twitter as a way to spread information about events going on in the world and 48% of users say that they use Twitter as a news source, meaning that the loss of Twitter would cause it to be way more difficult to get access to information. Not only that, but it’s also one of the only ways for smaller voices to be amplified into the mainstream. For many years Twitter has acted as a hub for conversations involving politics and social issues, and if Twitter were to fall it would be very difficult for another social media site to fit this role.

So, what do we think about all of this? We believe that the loss of Twitter would be a horrible mistake that would worsen the already prevalent spread of misinformation since easy access to quick headlines and real-time news events will be much harder to come by. We admit that Twitter has always had its flaws, some of the most insanely dangerous things have been said on Twitter, one of the most famous being Donald Trump’s (who, along with Jordan Peterson, has recently been unbanned on Twitter) infamous Jan. 6 tweets. But at least in that case Twitter actually banned him. Elon Musk is so caught up in his idea of free speech that he is actively punishing his user base by forcing them to pay $8 a month to have a voice that was previously given to them for free. But despite all of his money-making endeavors, despite all of the shortcuts he’s made, he’s still losing. Despite being the wealthiest person on the planet, he is a shockingly bad capitalist. He isn’t the founder of Tesla, and he isn’t the founder of Paypal, but he will most likely bring about the end of one of the most popular social media sites in the world.

Twitter plays a major role in the everyday lives of many students here at North. It provides news/information and entertainment all in the same place which makes it especially appealing to teens. It’ll be unfortunate if we have to see it go. However, Elon Musk brought this upon himself. He wanted to make Twitter a place for free speech, but at what cost? We’ll tell you what cost: $44 billion.