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If Twitter changes, will its users stay?

People keep tweeting about leaving the app—or debating whether or not they want to leave the app.


Tiffany Kelly

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 5, 2022   Updated on Nov 6, 2022, 7:21 pm CST

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Earlier this week, we all learned of Elon Musk’s plan to start charging people for verification on Twitter, which is noted with a blue check mark next to someone’s name on the app.

As many people have already pointed out, this plan defeats the whole point of verification, which is to tell users that an account is real—and that’s helpful for celebrities, brands, and people in various industries.

Verification can prevent people from successfully impersonating someone else. The news of potentially paying a company for a feature that helps both the company and its users find credible information did not go over well, and it led to a discussion about people leaving Twitter (again).

If you’re feeling déjà vu, that’s because people talked about leaving the app back in April when the deal was announced. But Musk did not officially own Twitter until last week, when he closed on the $44-billion deal.

And since he took over, he’s been announcing his plans on, what else, Twitter. While full details of the pay-for-verification plan have yet to be announced, Fortune reported that it could happen as early as Monday, with a grace period for existing verified users.

So what does this mean for the future of Twitter as a dominant social platform? We won’t know until these changes begin to roll out. Right now, though, people keep tweeting about leaving the app—or debating whether or not they want to leave the app.

Why it matters

Twitter was founded in 2006, and many early users have now been using the app for more than a decade. The social platform was in a weird place before Elon Musk bought it. Users complained of an increase in harassment and scams. And having a tweet go viral usually leads to a lot of negative replies, as I covered in last week’s column. Over the last few years, some users have left or decided to use the platform less frequently.

It’s not surprising that people would complain about paying for an app they simply no longer enjoy using. But that’s what happens when a social site is 16 years old; it needs to continue to grow and evolve or it’ll become stale. It needs to continuously improve its user experience.

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*First Published: Nov 5, 2022, 6:00 am CDT