The GuardianThe Guardian

‘He is poised to open the floodgates’: Can Twitter survive Elon Musk – or even thrive?

By Alex Hern

03 Nov 2022 · 13 min read

Editor's Note

Musk has wasted no time shaking up the struggling social media firm, cutting staff and introducing fees. The Guardian asks: can he make the platform matter again?

Twitter isn’t a good place to be right now. That’s nothing new, but the day-to-day awfulness has been ramped up by Elon Musk’s chaotic acquisition. In the week since he marched through the company’s San Francisco office holding a basin – so that he could tweet “let that sink in” – and dubbed himself first “chief twit” and then “Twitter complaint hotline operator” (his actual title, according to internal systems, is boring old “chief executive officer”), the world’s richest man has done the corporate-takeover equivalent of flipping the table halfway through a game of chess.

Externally, the changes are slim, but significant. One of his first acts was to order a change in the site’s homepage. If you visit without being logged into an account, you will no longer be sent to a log-in page; instead, you’ll be taken to the Explore tab, the site’s algorithmically curated selection of the best tweets and most popular trends. It’s a change of focus, in other words, from encouraging users to sign up or log in, to embracing visitors who just want to see what’s happening and then bail.

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