Solving For X

Solving For X

11 months ago2 mins

Mentioned in story

What’s Going On Here?

Twitter's inching towards Musk's "everything app" vision, but getting there could be a puzzle.

What Does It Mean?

When Elon Musk bagged Twitter for $44 billion last year, he nailed his colors to the mast: his ultimate ambition was to turn the platform into an "everything app" named X, inspired by China's digital Swiss Army knife, WeChat. With over a billion users relying on Tencent’s WeChat for everything from payments to booking event tickets, Musk spied an opening to replicate its success globally. And now he seems to be taking a significant step in that direction – ending Twitter’s life as an independent firm and merging it with a shell company named X Corp.

Why Should I Care?

Zooming in: Too small for its boots.

Musk's cost-cutting strategies have helped Twitter reach a break-even point – but the crash diet he put the firm on has shrunk Twitter's workforce from around 8,000 to a mere 1,500. That probably played a role in the six major outages that have struck the platform since the year began. And those wrinkles have got folks questioning the feasibility of any potential plans to add e-commerce and payment features, especially when tech titans with much more manpower – like Alphabet and Meta – are struggling with similar goals.

The bigger picture: Debunking Musk.

If Twitter wants to outpace those behemoths, it’ll need to get its own house in order first. After all, one of Musk’s main goals was to make the platform more trustworthy – and while he’s claimed that his crusade against bots and automated accounts has helped clamp down on misinformation, studies suggest otherwise. In fact, engagement with misinformation spreaders actually seems to have spiked post-takeover. That’s left Musk with egg on his face, but he’s doubling down on his favorite solution – a payment barrier, which would just so happen to top up company coffers while supposedly waging war on misinformation.

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