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Twitter Continues its Downfall in a Myriad of Ways; Here Are Just Some of Them

1. Elon Musk is selling back Twitter's originally free API.


Because Elon Musk has to gain every possible cent he can out of Twitter, its once-free API is now being sold back to Twitter users at a monthly subscription rate. The current rate for this subscription is $100 a month for access. 


Musk has allowed certain exceptions for what he deems "good" bots to keep them on the website. However, it is impossible to tell what qualities Elon would consider "good", whether it is based on the number of followers or the amount of content they produce. 


Access to Twitter's API has forever been free to use for those who want to use it with what is known as 'Twitter bots' filling the site with accounts that produce randomly generated content. Such as randomly generated flags (@FlagsMashupBot) or emojis (@EmojiMashupBot). But they don't always simply produce randomly generated content. Another one keeps track of how far through the year we are (@https://twitter.com/ProgressBar202_). However, malicious usage of bots is also prevalent on Twitter. Usage of bots to sew political discourse, such as those that would post comments of discourse to sway people to either side of the political debate (such as what occurred during the previous US elections.) Other malicious ways bots have been used include scams such as romance or bitcoin-related scams. 



Emoji Mashup Bot combining Sunglasses + Extremely Angry


However, for the most part, bots have been a fun addition to Twitter that has enhanced the likeability of the website. Twitter bots are a novelty that might keep some Twitter users staying on the platform despite its owner's rapidly declining quality and greediness. 


Small developers who wish to train their coding skills or simply create something fun for the internet would either be made to pay exorbitant amounts of money to keep their bots on the site or lose their creations and followings they had gathered from it. 


However, the loss of Twitter API isn't just bad news for developers but also for scientists and researchers. Many rely on Twitter as a data source. 


As a social media platform, Twitter has been a great tool for analysing public opinion and outlook. As Allem from The Conversation says, "I've treated Twitter as a massive focus group where observations – tweets – can be collected in near real-time at relatively low cost." 


However, large fees mean that many scientists may have to cut funding to avoid access or look to other platforms to conduct research. Recently, The Coalition for Independent Technology Research sent out a statement to Twitter that the API cost "will disrupt critical projects from thousands of journalists, academics and civil society actors worldwide who study some of the most important issues impacting our societies". 


Considering the popularity and easy use of Twitter, it would be difficult for scientists to find a replacement for easy public opinion research. Many other social media platforms, such as Facebook or Tumblr, have more restricted or niche demographics and have also had their popularity decline in recent times.

       2. Twitter is more plagued with bugs and glitches than ever.


On February 9th 2023, Twitter users could not send any of their tweets as they were told that "You are over the daily limit for sending Tweets." This is despite the daily tweet limit being absurdly high (over 2400). It was detected as an outage. 


Twitter has also reportedly permanently banned some of its users with no further explanation as to why. This includes people with zero tweets or followers that only use Twitter to keep up with the news or noteworthy figures.


Several people woke up to find this message after logging into their accounts:

"After careful review, we determined your account broke the Twitter Rules. Your account is permanently in read-only mode, which means you can't Tweet, Retweet, or Like content. You won't be able to create new accounts. If you think we got this wrong, you can submit an appeal."


This is despite them not knowingly breaking any of Twitter's rules.  


It is unknown how the random bannings happened; however, it is presumably a bug or a glitch similar to the previous message of users exceeding their daily tweet limits. Although Twitter hasn't explained anything about this most likely bug, it has stated that these bans can be appealed. 


           3.  Elon Musk is continuing to fire important members of its staff.


Likely due to his ego, Musk just can't seem to help remove formerly important employees. 


This includes a top engineer who had supposedly been fired by Musk due to his personal lack of post impressions and popularity on the platform. 


But this is only the most recent occurrence of Twitter staff being lost or fired during Elon Musk's takeover. Before Musk entered the company, Twitter had around 8000 employees; it now has around 2300. 


There have also been further accusations of Musk firing more women than men, with 57% of women being fired compared with 47% of men


Undoubtedly, his greed has also played a part in this, with Musk employing fewer people to keep the wealth Twitter produces for himself. However, Musk has also encouraged a 'crunch' style environment at the company, which prompted many to leave without being fired by Musk personally. 


The lack of staff has likely contributed greatly to the downfall of the site, especially with the number of bugs and glitches which have appeared across the site more recently.


From these conclusions, it might appear that Twitter is heading towards its doom. Lack of staff, continuous issues, and the ruining of things which gave users more of a reason to stick around and remain on the site. 


The platform is changing and very noticeably for the worst; a year or so from now, it might become so unlikeable that it is unrecognisable. 

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