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Musk wants to turn Twitter into a financial services behemot

Twitter owner Elon Musk said in a tweet on Sunday that “we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand” soon. The billionaire owner of the app has changed his profile picture to the purported ‘X’ logo of the app and has added a new domain address in his bio which leads to Twitter.

Not only the name, logo and domain address, the Twitter leadership aims to change how the app works and change it into an “everything app”. In a tweet, Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino said, “X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.”

The new announcement is the latest addition to the series of changes Musk has introduced to the bird app which he took over in October 2022. Since completing the $44-billion takeover, the world’s richest man has cut down the workforce of Twitter by over 75 per cent, introduced premium blue service with new set of features and removed legacy blue ticks, among other big changes. In May, he appointed Yaccarino, former advertising head of NBCUniversal.

TwitterX Plan
While the new change has attracted a lot of attention, with some hailing the move while others criticising Musk, it has been in the offing for some time now. In April, reports indicated that Twitter had informed its corporate partners that it has started conducting its business operations as X Corp. This came after a court filing of the company emerged online which indicated that the company has been incorporated as X Corp.

Musk has long held ambitions to build an everything app, just like China’s popular platform WeChat. He had called buying Twitter as the first step of creating X, an everything app. According to a Wall Street Journal report, it is a plan which aims to turn Twitter into a behemoth financial institution.

Everything apps offer multitudes of services, ranging from ordering food to making payments to peers on the app. WeChat, which started as a messaging platform, has turned into a superapp where users are able to access these services along with the messaging option. The app is a huge success with 1.3 billion monthly active users worldwide, according to latest available figures.

Musk reportedly has cited the example of WeChat in the past to push his plans of creating an everything app in the US. According to the transcript of Musk’s first meeting with Twitter employees published by Vox in June 2022, he had said that it would be a huge success if Twitter could recreate WeChat’s performance. “WeChat in China is actually a great, great app, but there’s no WeChat movement outside of China. And I think that there’s a real opportunity to create that. You basically live on WeChat in China because it’s so useful and so helpful to your daily life,” the billionaire had reportedly said in the meeting.

Musk’s experiment with digital banking dates back to 1999 when he found, which was later merged with Confinity and became PayPal. While his plan did not takeoff with the startup, Musk bought the domain back from PayPal in 2017.

According to reports, Musk hopes that the new plan has the potential to take the valuation of Twitter above $250 billion, over five times more than the amount at which he bought the bird app. In March, the valuation of Twitter had reached $20 billion. Musk also informed in a tweet recently that the advertising revenue of the social media platform had fallen by over 50 per cent.

Along with dwindling ad revenue and valuation, the company is also facing a tough competition with Meta’s Threads app which garnered over 30 million sign ups within 24 hours of launching. Other apps like Mastodon and BlueSky are also aiming to capture the Twitter’s user base unhappy with the slew of changes being introduced by its owner. Bloomberg

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