It’s been a year since the saga of Elon Musk buying Twitter began. After revealing he had purchased 9.1% of the social media platform, Musk soon followed up with an offer to buy the entire company at the joke price of $54.20 per share, well over what Twitter was valued at. Then the world’s richest man, Musk, secured the funding to buy Twitter, which he eventually did for $44 billion. The acquisition was not without its twists and turns, with Twitter’s board first trying to block the purchase, then Musk trying to sue to get out of the deal, and the sale finally going through last October.
A lot has happened in the relatively brief time since Musk took over to change the user experience. At first, Twitter saw a jump in popularity, with downloads of the app up 42% year-over-year in Musk’s first month, according to ExpressVPN. Since he first entered the Twitter offices carrying a sink in another joke that failed to land, Musk has fallen behind Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, in the world’s richest man rankings. He’s gotten rid of a significant portion of Twitter’s workforce. He’s alienated advertisers and refused to pay the company’s rent (though he did Tweet to say he sort of complied with the landlord’s requirement that Twitter’s full name be displayed on the marquee outside the company’s headquarters after he changed it to read Titter in yet another juvenile joke).
He’s publicly fired Iceland’s most beloved man, only to immediately walk that back. He’s introduced Twitter Blue, a paid verification that brought the company little revenue compared to what it lost in advertising, then made it harder to tell who had paid for Twitter Blue after subscribers were mocked relentlessly by other users. He’s had his employees, whom he’s forced to sleep at the office, alter Twitter’s algorithm to push his tweets to more users. He unbanned Donald Trump, only for the former president to ignore him and decline to return to the platform.
He’s slapped “state media” tags on NPR while globally blocking tweets at the request of the Indian government despite his claims that Twitter would be a bastion of free speech. He’s tried to charge media companies and celebrities for verification, yanking the New York Times’ checkmark after the paper announced it would not pay. He’s conducted a poll asking if he should step down as CEO, only to ignore the results when voters said he should. (In response, he later said he would introduce a policy where only Twitter Blue subscribers could vote in polls.) He briefly changed the Twitter logo on the website to the Dogecoin logo in what was either a late April Fools joke, an attempt to boost the joke cryptocurrency, or both.
With such erratic stewardship, it’s no wonder Twitter is on pace to lose more than 3.6 million U.S. users in 2023 and is projected to lose even more in 2024, dropping it to user levels not seen in a decade. Even by Musk’s own valuation, Twitter is worth less than half of what he paid for it less than a year ago. If this is how he’s been running his other companies, it’s a wonder Musk isn’t flat broke.