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From Twitter to "X": Elon Musk's overpaid acquisition has more to it than meets the eye

Elon Musk's Twitter is making rapid strides of evolving into an "everything X app". (Image generated by Midjourney AI)
Elon Musk's Twitter is making rapid strides of evolving into an "everything X app". (Image generated by Midjourney AI)
One app to rule them all. Increasing proliferation of AI-generated content into large social platforms like Twitter is fast blurring the lines between fake news and credible information. Musk's US$44 billion Twitter acquisition may be down-valued today, but the potential that the platform holds for evolving into a one-stop "everything X app" and assessing journalistic credibility cannot be undermined.
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We live in an age where information disseminates at virtually the speed of light thanks to social media.  While this can keep us up to date on numerous events throughout the world in real time, there are also unavoidable negative effects such as the virality of fake news and factually wrong information.

Back in April this year, Twitter renamed itself to X Corp as part of owner Elon Musk's re-imagining of the "world's town square" as an "everything app". While the Twitter service itself will remain as is, all corporate undersigning will happen in the name of "X Corp". This is akin to how Google morphed into Alphabet in 2015 and Facebook became Meta in 2021.

At the outset, one would wonder if it actually made business sense to acquire Twitter for a ludicrous US$44 billion. After Musk's takeover, asset manager Fidelity Investments slashed the platform's valuation to just Us$15 billion overall as of May 31, 2023.

However, there are larger stakes at play here.

Musk admitted that buying Twitter is "an accelerant" to creating X, the everything app. Public and private information regarding the "everything app" hints at Musk's plans of creating a WeChat or Line alternative for the rest of the world. WeChat and Line can be considered software Swiss army knives as they allow just about anything — from ordering pizzas to communication to gaming to even investments and crypto.

While the "everything X app" can ride on Twitter's popularity and even augment it, Musk's US$44 billion investment might have even farther ramifications as well.

The rapid proliferation of generative AI content opens up a pandora's box that can cause more problems than it can solve. Much before the acquisition of Twitter was even on the cards, Musk contemplated on creating a platform that rate and track the credibility of any journalist or publication.

Obviously, this raised several eyebrows as nothing was set in stone and the fact that there are already several ongoing efforts at establishing journalistic credibility. More than journalism pieces, posts by users on social media become viral and shape opinions before self-styled and conscientious fact-checkers chime in.

We could actually be on the verge of a day when debates, such as this two-day 12.5-hour NSFW face-off between AI Trump and AI Biden, are passed off as real.

Twitter already has a mechanism for reporting false information and prompts users duly, but this largely relies on input from subject-matter experts. In the course of time, AI could supplement these efforts as well.

This is similar in ways to which works. Trustedd was first announced in 2018 and went live about two weeks ago. The site bears similarities to Musk's visions as a community-driven effort to uncover trustworthy information. The core element of Trustedd is a community-based evaluation system, the so-called trustedd score. The score is further weighted based on a user's engagement on the platform or expert qualifications to ensure a fair evaluation.

Given its userbase, Twitter is arguably the best poised platform today to separate the wheat from the chaff.  

Thus, while Musk may have overpaid to acquire the blue bird, the potential of the platform as not only a social media tool but also as a venerable source of credible information is quite high.

Meanwhile, the launch of encrypted messages between verified users, the ability of verified creators to monetize their content, and potential integration of video and voice calls in the near future all point towards baby steps in Musk's ambitions of making the "everything X app" a one-stop marketplace for all services.

It is a precipice indeed but not insurmountable.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 06 > From Twitter to "X": Elon Musk's overpaid acquisition has more to it than meets the eye
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2023-06-21 (Update: 2023-06-21)