A tragic tale of the app formerly known as Twitter
Jasmine Garcha (she/they) // Contributor
Tobin Elias (he/him) // Illustrator
Twitter was launched back in July of 2006 by founders Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams. The app was rooted in the simple art of “shitposting,” but you could also catch up on politics, news, entertainment and even interact one-on-one with your favourite celebrities. However, everything changed on Oct. 27, 2022, when public personality and mogul Elon Musk purchased Twitter.
This was met with a very divisive reaction. In December, there was so much backlash that Musk tweeted a poll asking if he should step down as Twitter’s CEO. The results were overwhelmingly supportive of this notion. He stepped down from this position but continued driving the app into the ground.
Musk came in with big changes. The first one was to add subscriber-based verification to the app, which he called Twitter Blue. Celebrities’ blue checks were removed and given to any user who was willing to pay monthly. Around the same time, Kanye West was banned for trolling Musk on the app. Then, the nail in the coffin for many: rate limits.
In early July, Musk tweeted that the app was enforcing rate limits, wherein Twitter Blue users would be limited to viewing 6000 tweets per day and regular users would be limited to 600. However, rumours stated that the truth behind rate limits was that Musk refused to pay the Google Cloud bill required to host Twitter’s servers, and the site began crashing. This claim was made by an ex-Twitter employee, and supported by the fact that the rate limits began before the seemingly retrospective announcement.
That same weekend, the newly minted Bluesky social app, created by the aforementioned Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, saw an unexpected influx of new users. The app is currently invite-only as part of its beta launch. I will keep my thoughts on the app brief to continue the suspense before it is released to the general public: the community is, in general, a thousand times more wholesome than Twitter’s, but its algorithm makes it tough to find an abundance of users you may want to follow. Overall, it’s a great Twitter alternative.
Meta, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media company encompassing Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook, was quick to hop on the #twitterisoverparty by launching its version of the bird app, dubbed Threads, a few days after the rate limit incident. Not long after, I had finally obtained an invite code to Bluesky, my Twitter and Instagram friends moved to Threads! Here’s why …
Threads is a Twitter alternative that uses the same login as your Instagram account, which is why Instagram users hopped on it immediately. It exploded with account creations in it’s first few days. A lot of my friends who were among those first users told me that they wouldn’t be using it anymore within a few days of having the app. There were also cases where upon being banned on Threads, the ban transferred over to Instagram. A month later, I scarcely heard anyone talk about it. The only use I’ve seen of the app now is promotion; comedians, musicians, etc, post about shows and such that they have upcoming.
Twitter has since been rebranded to X, with a giant strobe light at the headquarters to prove it (although, this “X” light was quickly dismantled amidst backlash from those who lived both near and far). There have also been discussions on the app formerly known as Twitter about why having a website beginning with the letter “X” is a bad idea, but I will leave this discussion up to the reader’s imagination.
Now, finally, which app will win this race? Personally, I’m sticking to Bluesky—bugs and all. I’m still holding out hope for Twitter to make a comeback through this X mess. Needless to say, though, Threads is not a strong contender for anyone in this discussion. It was abandoned as quickly as it was downloaded for many users, especially amongst malfunctions in its early launch. Though, only time can tell who the true victor will be.