After billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk purchased Twitter in the fall of 2022, users of the legacy social media platform continue to criticize many of his business decisions. After months of ending legacy verification, limiting restrictions on hate speech, and more controversial policies, Musk has now enacted perhaps the most controversial one yet–changing the name of the platform entirely. Twitter, which was founded by Jack Dorsey in 2006, is now to be known as “X.”
The platform’s name change and rebrand was announced over the weekend, and Twitter users everywhere awoke to a new logo. Naturally, the memes and Twitter alternatives poured in. Dorsey’s competitor app, Bluesky, is yet to be widely released. Instagram’s Threads was released in July 2023, to a record-breaking amount of sign ups from fed up Twitter users and curious Instagram users.
Major brands, celebrities, influencers, and the average user all have a lot to say about ‘X.’ Many are sharing humorous images depicting the letter.
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) July 24, 2023
— David Leavitt 🎲🎮🧙♂️🌈 (@David_Leavitt) July 24, 2023
Elsewhere, others began to suspect that the rebrand would give way to a surge in sign ups for the growing list of Twitter competitors. Mastodon, Threads, and Bluesky have all seen a spike in popularity since Musk’s purchase of Twitter, given his many controversial moves. Mastodon has been a favorite among journalists, many of whom now feel that Twitter’s current state allows for the spread of misinformation.
Fuck it. Twitter Alts Guide.
-Mastodon. for people who want a decentralized platform
-Tumblr, for people who enjoy Art and Memes
-Bluesky, for recovering Twitter users
-Itaku, for people with furry porn addictions
-Truth Social, for people who are fucking idiots
— 🧡PapaBear💙 (@HomoFunkyChunky) July 24, 2023
Others recognized that since Twitter’s original name is now technically up for grabs, Jack Dorsey can take back what he created. Mark Zuckerberg could also continue his alleged rivalry with Musk, renaming Threads to Twitter.
— Stefanie (@fastpitstop) July 24, 2023
Why Is Twitter Now X?
Elon Musk stepped down as CEO recently, instead stepping in as CTO and appointing former NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccharino. The CEO took to the platform to vaguely explain what the “X” rebrand means.
Every single part of this pitch sounds dangerous, dystopian, and doomed. pic.twitter.com/Qv0hRHB7tc
Yaccharino’s explanation is receiving widespread criticism. Many argue that they signed up for Twitter years ago, and did not want to be pushed into using a platform that they feel has unnecessary and potentially dangerous features. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has recently come into the public forefront of criticism for an unrelated reason–the ongoing joint WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike, in which major film and television studios vow to replace writers and actors with AI versions of themselves.
"Powered by AI". We are ever advancing on a completely algorithmic run society in which none of us are in control or understand the mechanisms affecting our lives.
"AI will become addictive. It knows what you like. It knows what everyone likes. It will continue to refine output… pic.twitter.com/YL6U4gMEhH
— Dakara (@dakara_prisoner) July 23, 2023
Others argued that they simply wanted the hate speech on the platform to be eradicated, and that the additional features could wait.
that’s fine, can you just get rid of the Nazis lind?
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) July 23, 2023
Musk has not posted to the platform since last night, when he shared this image of a letter “X” projected onto company headquarters.
Our headquarters tonight pic.twitter.com/GO6yY8R7fO
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 24, 2023
As of today, San Francisco police reportedly shut the projection down, as Musk did not have the necessary city permits to rent the equipment.
San Francisco Police shuts down operation to remove Twitter’s name from X headquarters as Elon Musk reportedly didn’t get permit for all the equipment on the street. pic.twitter.com/wwQjeaYFn1
— Pop Base (@PopBase) July 24, 2023
Musk is yet to comment on the public criticism of Twitter’s rebrand, and neither have the CEOs of Twitter’s primary competitor apps.