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Twitter's Decline Accelerates

By Nate Parker | Politics | March 28, 2023 |

By Nate Parker | Politics | March 28, 2023 |


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Twitter’s For You is terrible and inescapable. It doesn’t matter how many times I switch to the Following tab; the app and page always open on For You, a space filled with misogynists, racists, transphobes, and something called a “catturd2” no matter how many times I mute their accounts. It seems no one likes the feature, one of many Musk pushed after taking over last October. So it makes sense he’s combining the tab with everyone’s other least favorite new feature, the paid Twitter Blue system.

That’s right; in 2 weeks you too can look at an endless stream of Musk superfans and rubes paying $8 every month for social media. And, if like many users, your immediate response to a Twitter Blue subscriber is to mute or block the account, well, they may be working on a “fix” for that too.

Alessandro Paluzzi is a mobile app developer and claims to have found the in-development feature in the course of his work. So far there doesn’t appear to be any corroboration, but that hasn’t stopped a number of publications from covering it. It makes sense. Paying for Twitter Blue is a surefire path to abuse by the masses, particularly if you’re paying for social media despite only having follower numbers in the double digits.

The latest efforts at monetizing Twitter and making Twitter Blue more appealing come after reports that fewer than 300,000 people worldwide have subscribed to the pay-for-exposure scheme. A recent valuation by Musk pegs Twitter’s worth at $20 billion, less than half the $44 billion he paid for it in October. Musk claims to see a “clear but difficult path” to make the struggling social media site worth $250 billion, which seems unlikely at best. More than half of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers have stopped paying for the service, and its revenue fell 40% in December. Twitter needs millions of paid subscribers to even approach the lost income.

One thing that probably won’t help get them there are reports that there’s a secret Twitter “VIP” list of celebs, political figures, and Musk himself that receive extra promotion on the For You tab. LeBron James, AOC, Ben Shapiro, Matt Yglesias, Glenn Greenwald, and others that mostly fall on the Right side of the political spectrum are on the list. These accounts receive extra promotion in user feeds and additional support from Twitter engineers when they have a complaint. Whether there’s an urgent need to put tweets by Glenn Greenwald at the top of anyone’s feed is subjective, but I’d argue anything that promotes a cat turd is irreparably broken.