Elon Musk bought Twitter, and now he’s rebranding it as X. Signs have gone up (and back down), icons are changing, and an old plan is new.
How’d we get here?
On April 4th, 2022, we learned that Musk had purchased enough shares of Twitter to become its largest individual shareholder. Eventually, he followed up with an unsolicited offer to buy 100 percent of Twitter’s shares for $54.20 each, or about $44 billion. Twitter accepted Musk’s offer, but then things got weird because he tried to cancel the deal.
There was a lot of back-and-forth about bots and text messages, but in the end, Musk settled on buying the company rather than facing a deposition or Chancery Court trial and eventually strode into Twitter HQ carrying a sink.
Since then, there have been layoffs, more layoffs, and even more layoffs — plus drama over Substack, unpaid bills, and blue checkmarks. With ad revenue still down from previous years, Elon finally abdicated the role of CEO in May 2023, installing longtime NBCUniversal ad executive Linda Yaccarino.
Read on for the latest updates about what’s going on inside Twitter right now.
X Social Media is suing X, a social media company
Illustration: The Verge
It was bound to happen eventually: a company has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Elon Musk’s X Corp. over its renaming of Twitter (via Reuters). The company in question is X Social Media LLC, an ad agency from Florida that alleges X Corp. is guilty of violating Florida common law because of “unfair competition and trademark and service mark infringement,” as well as the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
X Social Media (hereafter referred to as XSM to make this article easier to write) writes in the complaint that it has used its registered trademark, “X SOCIALMEDIA,” continuously since 2016. XSM claims it has “already suffered loss in revenue that correlates with X Corp.’s rebrand and use of the mark ‘X.’”
Paris Hilton is getting a special deal to post on X
Photo by Rick Kern / Getty Images for The Sandbox
X, the company formerly known as Twitter, has made a special revenue sharing deal with Paris Hilton and her media company, 11:11. It even includes a custom hashtag for a word that Hilton has been trying to popularize since at least 2019: “sliving.”
A combination of the words “slaying” and “living,” sliving is supposed to be Hilton’s new “that’s hot,” her catchphrase that was inescapable in the early 2000s. Now the year is 2023, and Linda Yaccarino, fresh from her interview on the Code stage, is posting “#sliving” to a site called X.
Linda Yaccarino was set up to fail
Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Image, illustration by William Joel/The Verge
The buzz out of the Code Conference this week is, naturally, all about the disastrous performance of X / Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino, who closed out the two-day affair in spectacular fashion. Vox’s Peter Kafka, who has been going to the conference since it started in 2008, called it “the weirdest session I’ve ever seen.” If I had to sum up the vibe as everyone trickled off to dinner afterward, it would be stunned disbelief. As for Yaccarino, she immediately fled the premises with her six-person security detail.
Given how her first interview on the job with CNBC went about a month ago, I had low expectations for her ability to field questions from the tough-as-nails Julia Boorstin on the Code stage. But nothing could have prepared me for how woefully unequipped she was to hold her own. There was something poetic about the Financial Times dropping a profile of her that same day with a photo in a literal crucifix pose.
‘Please fix this.’
Why isn’t X on Linda Yaccarino’s home screen?
During her bizarre interview at the Code Conference yesterday, Yaccarino held up her iPhone to the audience while seemingly indicating that it was supposed to represent X. I was sitting near the front of the stage and squinting to try and see what was on it.
Thanks to the magic of video and this screengrab from my colleague Vjeran, we have the goods. X doesn’t appear to be on her home screen but, incredibly, Facebook and Instagram are. I also spot Signal — Elon Musk’s messaging app of choice — and the Holy Bible, which really is the original super app if you think about it. (Also, Settings in the dock? What are you doing, Linda!)
Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
Linda Yaccarino says she hasn’t seen Elon Musk’s “demon mode” described in Walter Isaacson’s book.
She mostly talked about the value of spirited debate, but did say this: “All I’m saying is that the the idea of the inability to have a debate or feedback, I haven’t experienced or I’ll say I haven’t experienced it yet.”
X is shutting down Circles
Illustration: The Verge
X is planning to shut down Circles, a feature that lets you share posts with a limited group of people instead of all of your followers. The company said in a “PSA” on Thursday that Circles will be disabled by October 31st.
“After this date, you will not be able to create new posts that are limited to your Circle, nor will you be able to add people to your Circle,” X wrote in a post on its help center. “You will, however, be able to remove people from your Circle,” and the company gave instructions on how to do that.
Not a great look for Musk.
A new Justice Department filing says that Elon Musk’s actions at X (formerly Twitter) might have violated a privacy order from the FTC, according to The Washington Post.
Seems like Musk may have made some bad decisions:
Multiple employees testified that Musk gave directives that were at odds with the company’s normal processes and policies, according to the filing.
X’s Community Notes feature will now include videos
Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge
This might finally be the end of the hurricane street shark phenomenon. X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, updated its crowdsourced fact-checking Community Notes feature to tag videos directly and automatically populate those notes onto any matching videos. The same tagging was recently added to images with Community Notes, and last week, the platform added the ability to see the number of matching images that apply to each fact-check. Now, approved Community Notes will automatically show up every time a flagged video is posted or reshared.
According to a post on the tool’s X account, a select group of Community Notes power users, known as “Top Writers” (if you have to ask what that is, you’re probably not a part of the club), can now submit added context to potentially misleading video content. The platform said this is a “highly-scalable way” to add additional context to AI-generated videos and misleading video edits.
Just how many times did Musk tell on himself in one video?
In addition to nearly running a red light, doxxing Zuck, and flouting Tesla’s own driver-assist rules, Elon Musk probably broke the law.
Did you know it’s illegal in California to hold and operate a phone while driving? The fine starts at $20, but if you do it twice in three years, you get a point on your license too. We’ve asked Palo Alto PD what they’ll do with the evidence Musk uploaded.
Elon Musk booed again.
First, it was by the cool kids at a Dave Chapelle show, then Captain Hardcore got booed again over the weekend by a bunch of nerds while attending the world championship final of Valorant in Los Angeles with his son. Welcome to hell.
Donald Trump returns to X / Twitter to post his mug shot
Donald Trump posted his first tweet after getting banned from the platform last year.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Donald Trump has made his return to X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.
On Thursday, the former president turned himself in at the Fulton County jail on over a dozen charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. Over the last five months, Trump has faced criminal charges in four separate cases, but the most recent booking was the first and only time his mugshot was taken. He took the opportunity to make his first post on X since January 8th, 2021.
X tests removing headlines from links to news articles
X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, is testing stripping headlines from articles shared on the site. The move was initially reported by Fortune, before X owner Elon Musk confirmed it directly. Posts would only include the lead image and the URL, unless the person or publisher posting the link adds their own text, per materials the outlet viewed.
The image would still serve as a link to the article, but there’s no word on a timetable to roll it out or confirmation that it will ship at all. “It’s something Elon wants,” a source is quoted as saying, “They were running it by advertisers, who didn’t like it, but it’s happening.”
X says it’s fixed the bug that broke links and images in pre-December 2014 tweets
Image: The Verge
Over the weekend, word spread about a problem affecting old tweets, and eventually, we narrowed it down to anything posted before December 2014, either with an image or a link that had been shortened by Twitter. A post by Tom Coates alerted many people to the problem and he noted that a 2014 Ellen DeGeneres selfie from the Oscars that took the crown as “most retweeted ever” was even missing its image.
Now the @Support account at X, the company formerly known as Twitter until Elon Musk rebranded it, says, “Over the weekend we had a bug that prevented us from displaying images from before 2014. No images or data were lost. We fixed the bug, and the issue will be fully resolved in the coming days.”
Here’s what data analysis says about Elon Musk’s followers on X.
Matt Binder of Mashable offers an analysis of data collected on basic account information from all the X accounts that follow Musk. Here are some stats from the article:
• About 42 percent (65.3 million) have no followers.
• About 41 percent (62.5 million) have no tweets (either because they have never tweeted, or have deleted their tweets).
• Over 25 percent (38.9 million) created their accounts on or after the date of Musk’s Twitter acquisition.
• The median number of followers of all of the accounts is one.
X glitch wipes out most pictures and links tweeted before December 2014
X, which was formerly known as Twitter until its recent rebranding, is having a problem displaying old posts that came with images attached or any hyperlinks converted through Twitter’s built-in URL shortener. It’s unclear when the problem started, but it was highlighted on Saturday afternoon in a post by Tom Coates, and a Brazilian vtuber, @DaniloTakagi, had pointed it out a couple of days earlier.
As it is, it appears to affect tweets published prior to December 2014, judging by posts visible on my own account. No videos are affected (Twitter only added native image support in 2011 and built-in videos in 2016), but links to YouTube, for example, are now just text with a t.co URL that doesn’t work.
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