X, formerly Twitter, has had a turbulent year since Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform in 2022 — marked by advertising decline, user dissatisfaction with changes, and the emergence of Threads, a similar competitor from Meta.
Now, Musk is acknowledging that X “may fail” amid the constant changes and obstacles.
“The sad truth is that there are no great ‘social networks’ right now,” Musk posted on X on Saturday. “We may fail, as so many have predicted, but we will try our best to make there be at least one.”
Linda Yaccarino, who stepped in as X CEO in June, chimed in to write: “There is an important place in the world for X.”
Musk also received some words of encouragement (and criticism) from a fellow billionaire and sometimes rival, Mark Cuban. In a reply to Musk’s tweet, Cuban noted that the technology isn’t the problem, and since the billionaire’s acquisition it has been “far better.” However, it’s Musk’s “control” of the platform that prevents it from being the digital town square of sorts it once was.
TBH , the tech is now far better since you took over. It’s cleaner and you have introduced services (blue check excepted) that make the service more usable.
The raw truth is the biggest challenge you have is your influence on the algorithms and the content they present.… https://t.co/bwxaQJQ2m8
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) August 20, 2023
Cuban has weighed in before on X’s changes, including criticism of the checkmark system, the billionaire’s exercise of free speech, and skepticism of Musk’s motives in purchasing the platform in the first place.
In late May, the investment group Fidelity estimated X’s valuation at $15 billion, nearly a third of the $44 billion Musk paid for the platform in October 2022. In the same month, it was found that ad revenue at X was down 59% as compared to a year earlier, according to internal documents obtained by The New York Times.
And the obstacles for X continue to pile up.
Over the weekend, X experienced a glitch over the weekend, wherein images and links posted to the platform before December 2014 seeming got deleted. Last week, X faced another malfunction—competitors and news outlets experienced a noticeable slowdown of up to five seconds, which was also believed by major outlets like The Washington Post and Reuters to be an intentional move by Musk.
On August 16th, Media Matters for America released a report that found at least 18 brands’ ads were placed alongside a verified pro-Nazi account, resulting in two brands immediately suspending ad spend on the platform.