What is X?
X used to be called twitter is a wildly used social media and micro-blogging service platform. Just renamed in July 2023. X is a highly real-time platform characterized by short messages, it has become an important source tool for emergency coverage, instant discussion, and is one of the most popular social networking platforms today.
X’s regulatory modeland some shortcomings
X has clear user conduct rules and policies regarding the safety, legality and compliance of content on the platform. X detects content posted by users through automated identification and human moderation. This reduces the number of offending content in the public eye, including harassment, threats, violence, false propaganda, etc. The protection of minors is taken very seriously and a zero-tolerance approach is adopted, which greatly protects the physical and mental health of minors. Despite manual and automated review features, there is still a lot of offending and sensitive content in the public eye. The reason for this is the enormous challenge of balancing freedom of expression and content regulation. A study on threats of violence stated that ‘Twitter’s Violent Threats policy has specifically been criticized by several prominent public figures for its failure to mitigate online toxicity’(Casula et al., 2021).
The content was threateningly violent, but Twitter’s review did not find the content threatening. Some of the shortcomings in Twitter’s content regulation policies require the development of more effective ways to identify threatening speech. Faced with such a large number of users, many social media platforms have a combination of human and intelligent auditing for review. But after acquiring Twitter, Musk has relied more on automation to save costs and make a lot of layoffs when it comes to detecting tweets on the platform. In response to the rhetoric to reduce violations such as threats of violence, the EU is asking X platforms to hire more staff to conduct content moderation. X needs to continuously strive to improve its regulatory model, maintain the safety and legitimacy of platform users, and protect users’ freedom of expression to adapt to the changing Internet environment and social needs. X cracks down on disinformation, which can mislead the public and influence public opinion and political decisions. A study analyzes the actual impact of the spread of disinformation on Twitter related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Studies have shown that the spread of disinformation has led to a growing lack of trust in government agencies, and that when the government tried to call COVID-19 a “mild flu,” any scientific information became irrelevant(Nascimento et al., 2021). For the control of false information, the X platform can not do 100% to identify the authenticity of the information, and in the future, more analysis is needed to identify the tweets to be marked.
X’s platform monetization model
The operation of the digital platform is part of the twin processes of digitization and datafication(Mansell et al., 2020). X’s main sources of revenue include many aspects, including licensing of user data, advertising revenue, subscription services, etc. Like other digital platforms, x generates revenue by selling ad space to advertisers, who display merchandise on the x platform in the form of video ads, sponsored content, and more. The sale of data licenses for users is also one of the main sources of revenue for X. X collects a large amount of user-generated data, including users’ interests, behaviors, and trends. Data partners can be in a position to pass on this licensed data to help them understand audience and market trends. In today’s era of advanced Internet, the most important thing for digital platforms is flow, and having huge data is the best way for platform companies to market themselves. A study of a framework model of profitability mechanisms for digital platforms suggests that The fundamental driver of digital platform profitability comes from data, which is critical for platform companies. This requires platform companies to work on data collection, analysis and mining(Deng et al., 2022). X has over 353.90 million users worldwide, and X can license its data to third-party companies to earn data license fees. Another source of revenue for X is subscription services that will provide advanced features and tools to improve the user experience. Examples include the ability to post longer videos, dispense with ads, fast loading, etc. A research article on Twitter subscription services proposed that ‘Twitter’s subscription service would provide additional services for paying users’(Burga, 2022). In 2021, 89 percent of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising. In an effort to balance the company’s revenues, Platform X introduces a new subscription model to reduce its reliance on advertising revenue. These subscription services give users a better experience, no longer being bothered by cumbersome ads, and breaks X’s dependence on ad revenue. In summary, the main revenue streams of Platform X include advertising revenue, data licensing and data licensing fees, subscription services, and many other ways.
The Future of X
- Challenges to social impact
There are some potential concerns and challenges about the future of the X platform that could affect its future development. First, policy changes and massive layoffs at Platform X could have implications for the future. Twitter Sparks Heated Debate About Blackness After 2020 Police Shooting of George Floyd. One has to admit that Twitter has a wide-ranging impact on social movements. But Platform X’s content review policy and massive layoffs have led to consistently troubling review techniques on the platform. A U.S. News article on the future of Twitter that ‘some organizers and digital media experts have been preparing for the impact his controversial policy changes and mass layoffs could have on the future of social movements’(Kaur, 2023). As a platform for information dissemination, X is often used to post discussions on social issues, and poor content review is likely to have an impact on future social movements.
- X’s financial woes
Revenues from advertising plummeted after Platform X changed its policies and a large number of advertisers pulled out, posing an even greater threat to Twitter, which was already in financial trouble. As of September (a month before Musk took over), only 43% of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers were still advertising on the platform (Maruf, 2023). Twitter’s 2022 revenue is down 11% from 2021. Revenue is expected to be worse in 2023 due to loss of advertising revenue(Iqbal, 2023). This could jeopardize the future of Platform X if effective measures are not taken to address these financial issues.
- Loss of users
User retention is very important to X because it directly impacts the long-term success and sustainability of the platform. But due to X’s reforms it seems to be losing more users than expected. The future of Platform X needs to provide better user experience, content regulation, and business models to improve user retention to ensure the sustainability of the platform.
X is a social media platform that allows users to share their opinions and get real-time information, it has many users around the world and has a great impact on society. For the future development of the platform, what needs to be done is to strengthen the regulation of content, improve the user experience, implement a profit model that is more suitable for the competition in today’s Internet era, and promote innovation to create a better digital platform.
Burga, S. (2022, November 6). What We Know So Far About Twitter’s New $7.99 Subscription. Time. https://time.com/6229775/new-twitter-subscription-verification/
Casula, P., Anupam, A., & Parvin, N. (2021). “We found no violation!”: Twitter’s Violent Threats Policy and Toxicity in Online Discourse. C&T ’21: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Communities & Technologies – Wicked Problems in the Age of Tech. https://doi.org/10.1145/3461564.3461589
Deng, T., Qiao, L., Yao, X., Chen, S., & Tang, X. (2022). A Profit Framework Model for Digital Platforms Based on Value Sharing and Resource Complementarity. Sustainability, 14(19), 11954. https://doi.org/10.3390/su141911954
Kaur, H. (2023, June 11). What the chaos at Twitter means for the future of social movements | CNN Business. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2023/06/11/tech/twitter-elon-musk-social-movements-cec/index.html
Mansell, R., & Steinmueller, W. E. (2020). Advanced introduction to platform economics. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited. P.35-54.
Maruf, R. (2023, July 15). Elon Musk says Twitter’s ad revenue is down 50% and cash flow is negative | CNN Business. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2023/07/15/business/twitter-cash-flow-elon-musk/index.html
Nascimento, T. M. L. do, Santana, L. E. A. dos S., & Abreu, M. D. C. (2021, October 4). Fake News on the Covid-19 outbreak: a new metadata-based dataset for the analysis of Brazilian and British Twitter posts. Sol.sbc.org.br; SBC. https://doi.org/10.5753/sbseg.2021.17332
Hypertext reference list
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Paul, K., & Milmo, D. (2022, October 28). Elon Musk completes Twitter takeover and “fires top executives.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/oct/27/elon-musk-completes-twitter-takeover
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