Elon Musk’s X-branded Twitter does nothing to solve his much bigger problems

Many are questioning Musk's decision to ditch Twitter and its iconic bird for a transformation to 'X'

I like birds, but they’ve just been X’ed out of existence.

And it’s not just me. Millions of Twitter users yesterday found the troubled social media site rebranded with an X.

Let me ask this question: Is there one person who has somehow resisted Twitter’s charms who will now join because of the letter logo?

I don’t think so.


elon musks x branded twitter does nothing to solve his much bigger problems

Elon Musk officially launched Twitter's rebrand to ‘X’ on over the weekend. (Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images)

This is purely a reflection of Elon Musk’s ego. The birds were conjured up by Twitter’s original founders. Musk has long been fascinated by X, and wants to turn his X site into an Everything App –one dealing with payments, banking, video and communications.

As someone who has not successfully run either an electric car company or a space rocket outfit, who am I to say that Musk can’t pull this off?

But I do know this: It would make more sense to become X when some of those services are ready, rather than just at some point in the hazy future.

Besides, having lost half the company’s advertising revenue since buying the place for $44 billion, Musk has much bigger problems to worry about than a symbolic name change.

elon musks x branded twitter does nothing to solve his much bigger problems

Not only does Elon Musk stand at the helm of major tech companies, he's also a father to 10 kids. (Justin Sullivan)

I have generally been a supporter of Musk’s free-speech approach to Twitter, in marked contrast to most of the media, as well as those on the left, who view him as an ultra-conservative force for evil.

But I’ve been disappointed by some of his erratic behavior, such as picking petty fights with people and restoring suspended accounts of those who appeal to him personally. I see him as a right-leaning guy – he voted for Democrats for president through Joe Biden – who loves the traffic his provocative posts generate.

Of course there have been lots of glitches since Musk laid off more than three-quarters of the staff – that would seem a higher priority than picking the right letter of the alphabet.

"Soon we shall bid adieu to the twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds," Musk tweeted Sunday.


Reaction was, well, rather negative. As reported by the Washington Post, sci-fi author John Scalzi tweeted: "I’ve been reluctant to leave Twitter entirely, but I have to tell you I won’t have a problem leaving X."

Ben Parr, president of marketing firm Octane AI, tweeted: "Looking forward to Elon stans explaining to me how destroying a universally-recognizable brand is a smart business decision."

I actually think Musk’s worst decision was to require users to pay $8 a month for services that had previously been free, rather than for expanded benefits. (I recently signed up so I could keep posting on the @MediaBuzzFNC account, but that has been a minor fiasco.)

The biggest blow, though said to be temporary, was that users couldn’t scroll through more than 600 tweets – not necessarily clicking on any – without paying to become verified members.

elon musks x branded twitter does nothing to solve his much bigger problems

Elon Musk is also the chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and Tesla Inc. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The main reason folks join Twitter is so they can feel plugged into the news, political and cultural debates, and follow the conversations among prognosticators they like (or dislike). Yeah, I know some just care about the likes of Kim Kardashian, but without Twitter as a breaking news magnet, it loses its reason for being.


The X-rated version of Twitter comes just a couple of weeks after Mark Zuckerberg launched his copycat version called Threads, open only to Instagram members.

elon musks x branded twitter does nothing to solve his much bigger problems

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg once claimed Facebook had suppressed 18 million posts that contained "misinformation" about COVID-19. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Threads drew a phenomenal 100 million members in just days, a setback for Twitter. But engagement has since plunged by 70% because the Meta chief rushed it out without such basic features as hashtags or the ability to find who to follow.

I’m also on Threads, and it’s a friendly but underpopulated neighborhood that lacks the toxicity of Twitter, at least for now, but also the friction that comes with sharp disagreement.

Twitter needs more than a name change. And if Elon Musk wanted to project a friendlier image, he could have named it XO.

Howard Kurtz is the host of FOX News Channel's MediaBuzz (Sundays 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET). Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in July 2013 and regularly appears on Special Report with Bret Baier and other programs.

Authored by Howard Kurtz via FoxNews July 24th 2023