Ever since Elon Musk took over Twitter, the microblogging site has been in the midst of massive changes. While Twitter 2.0 is still an evolving concept, none of the changes so far have managed to make people excited. The new Twitter features are supposed to be more inclusive, and offer netizens a voice, regardless of their political affiliations.
The self-styled Chief Twit had admitted early on that the social media platform will undergo drastic changes under his watch. From firing over half the staff to increasing the character count, Elon Musk Twitter is anything but basic.
Twitter 2.0: Changes and Timelines
One of the most recent Twitter changes is the revision of the character count, security council, verification subscriptions, amongst others in the pipeline.
The Revised Character Limit
When Twitter started out as a microblogging site, it took its reputation seriously. Users were forced to get creative as they had to limit their tweet to 140 characters. After much gripping and feedback, it was eventually scaled up to the existing 280.
But for Elon Musk Twitter, 280 still fell short of expectations. As the “de factor public town square,” he wants people to be able to freely say what they want.
In response to a Twitter user’s question about raising the character limit, Musk replied in the affirmative and confirmed the rumors were true.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2022
Last month, the billionaire had signaled that the company is working on increasing the Twitter character limit to around 1,000 characters. But the recent change has surpassed all expectations and some are wondering how Twitter is going to be different from Facebook.
Twitter’s short limit pushed people to come up with different ways to sift through their language and resulted in some outrageous and hilarious statements.
After a disastrous trial run that was criticized by all and sundry, Twitter verification is back with a new verification system.
The earlier $8 a month subscription fee let trolls take over new user names and caused losses amounting to millions to some companies.
Musk confirmed that all old blue ticks will be removed as he believes the way in which they were given was “corrupt and nonsensical.”
The new Twitter features a verification process wherein users who pay the fee must undergo a review process before receiving their check mark.
Twitter will also charge Apple device users a higher fee for verification. According to Esther Crawford, the Twitter product head leading the subscription service effort, iOS users will have to shell out $11 a month compared to $8 for others.
Maybe, this is Twitter’s way of penalizing Apple for charging a 30% commission for in-app subscriptions. In November, the entrepreneur had ranted over the App Store taking a 30% cut from developer.
He had vehemently voiced his opposition stating, “Apple’s store is like having a 30% tax on the Internet. Definitely not ok.”
The new system has different color checks for different entities. Gold checks for companies, gray checks for government entities and other organizations, and blue checks for individuals, irrespective of their celebrity status.
On Monday, the Twitter CEO tweeted that all legacy blue checks will be removed in the coming months.
Some Twitter users noted that they see a new explanation when they click on the blue checks of accounts that were verified before Musk’s takeover that reads: “This is a legacy verified account. It may or may not be notable.”
The paid Twitter verification plan is Musk’s attempt to boost revenues, without relying solely on advertisers. He previously stated that he wants Twitter 2.0 to be completely self-sufficient.
The launch of the new Twitter Blue will allow users to write longer posts, edit tweets, upload lengthier videos, and more.
Recommended Tweets: New Twitter Features
Elon Musk’s Twitter 2.0 is expanding the recommended feed to all Twitter users. Announcing the change in early December, the company stated, “We want to ensure everyone on Twitter sees the best content on the platform, so we’re expanding recommendations to all users, including those who may not have seen them in the past.”
Recommended tweets refer to posts from accounts you do not follow. Twitter’s powerful algorithms want users to discover other accounts they may be interested in following.
The change will impact only those who were not seeing recommended tweets on their timelines.
If users do not want to take advantage of recommended tweets or see too many, they can switch to the chronological feed and avoid them entirely.
I do not want to see recommendations. 👎
— しあん 𝅘𝅥𝅯 (@Cyanne_jp) November 30, 2022
We’d love to hear how we can make them better! In the meantime, you can switch to Latest Tweets by clicking the sparkle icon.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 30, 2022
PS – Note the gold check for the official Twitter Support account.
In case users want to do away with tweets from a certain account they can mute the account, so Twitter does not recommend it anymore.
Removal of Trust and Safety Council
Previously, Musk had praised Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth. He had also noted that Twitter 2.0 will not be the land of the lawless, writing “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”
But plans changed and as new Twitter features solidified, Roth’s role was liquidated. In early November, Roth quit the social media platform. Some experts alleged that Roth was fired by the Chief Twit.
Yoel Roth used to lead the team that set the rules for what was allowed on Twitter, and aimed to keep users safe. Roth’s exit led experts and users to question how Twitter will moderate content and keep hate speech off the platform.
On Monday, skeptics got their answer when Twitter 2.0 announced that it was disbanding its “Trust and Safety Council.”
The email informed members that Twitter did not consider the body the best resource to bring in external insights and conduct policy development work. The council members were scheduled to meet Twitter executives in less than an hour of the email’s arrival.
“Rather than engage with members’ concerns, Twitter disbanded the Council less than an hour before the call,” a spokesperson for the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a Washington DC-based non-profit, told CNN.
As the Trust and Safety Council is dissolved, it could impact key content moderation decisions as Elon Musk Twitter seems to adhere to the billionaire’s whims.
On December 12, netizens saw Twitter trending as news spread about the removal of the council that was supposed to be a safety net against hate speech and indecent language.
Impact of Twitter Changes
Musk will court bad press, not to mention the wrath of content moderators with the dissolution of the Trust and Safety Council.
The council was first formed in 2016, as social networks came under greater scrutiny over the language and messages conveyed through them.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit that promotes press freedom around the world, decried the dissolution of the council. Group President Jodie Ginsburg mentioned that it is a cause for great concern. Others commented that they will keep an eye out for how Elon Musk’s Twitter will be restructured.
Meanwhile, Musk’s criticism of Yoel Roth has forced the former security head and his partner to flee their home after a barrage of online harassment and death threats.
Musk had tweeted, “Looks like Yoel is in favor of letting children being able to access adult internet services in his PhD thesis.” The misinterpretation of Roth’s Thesis led Musk’s followers to harass everyone from Roth to his family to his professor show reviewed his thesis.
Netizens are blaming Musk for the fiasco and have raised valid concerns about his tweeting. So far, there has been no apology from Musk on the tweet regarding Roth. But that is not all Twitter has to contend with.
Its subscription service is also under scrutiny. Last time, it resulted in trolls taking over popular accounts with false usernames and creating utter chaos.
Musk’s decision to raise the character limit has also been met with skepticism, but most have refrained from commenting over it.
Furthermore, the Twitter CEO hired a hacker to straighten out Twitter’s search function. Users are interested to see how the billionaire’s unconventional approach will shape Twitter.
Why are Twitter Employees Leaving Bad Reviews?
It is no secret that former Twitter employees are advising prospective workers to do anything but work at Twitter 2.0. Twitter changes have been called “toxic” and unhealthy by former workers.
Former employees allege that what was once a great place to work has been brought low by Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
One Blind user warned users to stay away from the new Twitter. They also mentioned that “Elon Musk ruined everything” because the “pay is no longer transparent.”
The workers cite a toxic work culture that permeated the company since Musk took charge as Chief Twit. Most reminisce over what was once a great company devolving into anything but.
One reviewer on Blind did not hold back, placing the blame squarely on the CEO. They wrote, “Overworked with extreme hours, always on PIP [performance improvement plan] and threatened to get fired, supervised by under-qualified engineers, no credit for work, no decision-making power.”
Blind has seen an increase in reviews by Twitter employees, since Musk’s takeover. So far, the social media site has not addressed the allegations leveled against it.
The most active Twitter user, the Chief Twit himself, has not refuted or confirmed allegations about the company culture.
Will Twitter Survive the Bad Press?
American businessman PT Barnum once said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
With Twitter 2.0 taking shape, the microblogging platform has been in the news ever since Musk offered to acquire it. It was never shocking to see Twitter trending.
Every move of his has been scrutinized, dissected, and reviewed by the press. Early on, Musk has revealed that he wants to build Twitter into a profitable company that does not rely entirely on advertising revenue.
However, it must be noted that he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook after the tech giant briefly paused advertising on the platform.
Musk has been dealing with bad press since the days of Tesla. Only time will tell how the new changes at Twitter will affect the platform’s popularity.
Other than some celebrity users quitting the platform, Twitter has not lost out on followers. We will need to see how users react to the new changes that have been rolled out and whether a lack of content moderation will encourage everyone to speak up and give voice to their opinions.
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