We’ve watched in horrified fascination as the town square that was once the world’s collective pulse has gone up in flames
Over the last year, we’ve watched with horrified fascination as Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, rained deathblow after deathblow upon a social network that once served as the global town square for the world’s most influential people, brands and institutions.
Since buying Twitter for $44bn in October 2022, Musk has fired thousands of staffers, including those working in content moderation, trust and safety, and public policy. He’s opened up verification, once reserved for notable users, to anyone that pays a $8 subscription fee, making it impossible to tell who’s real and who’s not. He’s blown up messaging, restricting the platform’s ability to privately text nearly any user to only those who pay. He’s booted journalists he doesn’t like from the service, labeled NPR as “state-affiliated media”, throttled traffic to news sites, reinstated previously-banned white nationalists, resurrected Donald Trump’s account, unleashed threats and harassment on former staff members, killed the best bots, feuded with the Anti-Defamation League, deprecated headlines, toyed with putting the whole site behind a paywall, installed a CEO who will forever be known for a disastrous first public interview, and destroyed one of the world’s most recognizable brand names – Twitter – by changing it to X.