Elon Musk’s first month of ownership at Twitter has consisted of thousands of Twitter employees being laid off, the reinstatement of suspended accounts, even former president Donald Trump, account impersonations after the decision to make verified blue check-ups for sale and the uptick of hate speech on the app, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Defamation League. This has led to trending hashtags #RIPTwitter and #TwitterFuneral.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Defamation League, two social media watchdog groups, recently reported an increase in hate speech on the app since Musk has taken over. The Center says that the n-word has significantly increased in its usage by users in addition to slurs against gay and transgender people.
Although Business Insider reported that Musk said layoffs would not continue into the holiday season on Nov. 21, a few dozen employees were laid off the night before Thanksgiving on Nov. 23. Further, earlier this month, employees at the Twitter office in Accra, Ghana, were laid off three days after they began returning to the office.
Additionally, Musk reinstated the suspended accounts of former president Donald Trump, Kanye West who was suspended in October for making anti-semitic comments, and others for the sake of general amnesty or granting a pardon to the suspended individuals. Prior to his action, Musk conducted a poll posing the question of reinstatement without saying any names, and 72.4 percent of respondents voted ‘yes.’
The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk said in a tweet. The phrase is Latin translating to “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
Moreover, the blue check verification tag on Twitter that was reserved for professional institutions, public officials, celebrities, and news media personnel was now up to $7.99 per month. This opens the door for account personations of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former president George W. Bush, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and more. Musk did tweet a response to the impersonations.
“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” he said.
These reports have put into question, for users, the viability of the app. In 2021, the Pew Research Center reported that, of the 23 percent of Americans using Twitter, 69 percent of them got their news from the site. It is too early to tell how or if these reports could influence this.
Twitter users ages 18-24 years old represent nearly one-fifth of all users and are being targeted by other apps like Instagram and TikTok for their attention. Howard University students like Camryn Fitzhugh, a junior electronic studio major, still have hope in the app and the lasting impact of Twitter.
“I don’t see myself leaving Twitter anytime soon. From what I’ve seen, I haven’t noticed other platforms rising in popularity. I think every platform has its niche, so you can’t really replicate your Twitter experience on another app,” Fitzhugh said.
Copy edited by Alana Matthew