Tesla CEO Elon Musk has formally rebranded Twitter as “X,” substituting the social media platform’s iconic white-and-blue bird logo on Monday with a simple black-and-white design featuring the titular letter.
The new moniker is part of the entrepreneur’s plan to turn the social media platform into what he calls “the everything app.” Posting over the weekend, the company’s new CEO and former NBC advertising sales chair Linda Yaccarino, called X the “future state of unlimited interactivity.” In her words, the newly re-envisioned platform will be powered by artificial intelligence and “centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking — creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.”
Since purchasing the website in 2022, Musk has been the target of frequent criticism, not only at Twitter but also at Tesla. In his first months as the platform’s new owner, the entrepreneur terminated roughly 50% of the company’s staff, sometimes publicly responding to social media posts from disgruntled former employees, and transformed the company’s free blue-checkmark program, used to publicly verify high-profile accounts, into a paid subscription. The CEO also un-banned controversial users such as GOP candidate Donald Trump, insinuating that the decision to remove them from the platform had been politically motivated, and released compromising pictures of Hunter Biden, which he claimed had been wrongfully suppressed. In April 2023, several shareholders penned an open letter to Tesla’s board of directors, urging them to reign in the entrepreneur’s behavior. “Instead of working to address problems with regulators, CEO Musk has made derogatory tweets and comments, fueling tensions,” they wrote.
Concern for both Twitter’s and Tesla’s image may have been the reason for Musk asking Twitter users if he should step down from his position as CEO. After two successive polls, one of which was taken down for alleged bot activity, called for his removal, Musk agreed to vacate after choosing a replacement for his post, which was eventually filled by Yaccarino in May.
Last week, when Twitter was still Twitter, the company revealed it had lost nearly half of its advertising revenue since Musk took over. At the time, the Tesla chief tweeted: “Need to reach positive cash flow before we have the luxury of anything else.” The company presently has roughly $13 billion in debt which JM Finn investment director Lucy Coutts told BBC’s Today would be due “by the end of July.” Whether X’s new leadership, service expansions or edgier theme will improve profits and help it compete with new rivals such as Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads remains to be seen.