Twitter Updates 2023: Understanding This Year’s Social Media Shifts

As any social media manager can attest, it’s been another chaotic and busy month on social media – especially when you throw an entirely new platform into the mix!


Twitter becomes X

It feels like we say this every month, but it has, indeed, been another chaotic month for the bird app – well, the ex-bird app.

It started the month by limiting the number of tweets users could see – which caused a lot of annoyance (and prompted Meta to launch Threads early to capitalise on the discontent). Musk argued that it was to combat spam, but many were doubtful.

Twitter has recently rebranded to X – which has come with its own issues. People are wondering why Musk would mess with such a strong brand. Others have pointed out that ‘X’ is a trademark held by several organisations, including Microsoft and Meta (who can say if this will cause any fallout).

X needs to do something to change its fortunes. The BBC reported that the platform has lost almost half its ad revenue since Elon Musk took over. In response, Musk has started trying to make Twitter Blue…wait, X Blue..? more appealing – such as by limiting the number of DMs you can send if you have a free account and allowing Blue subscribers to download videos uploaded to the platform (users have to opt out of letting this happen).

X also faces a legal challenge in Germany after failing to remove racist and antisemitic posts.


Threads launched with a bang, but can it sustain people’s interest?

Meta launched Threads earlier than intended – and received a huge surge in sign-ups. Many people are keen to find a suitable alternative to X, and Meta made sure it was very easy to sign up – simply use one of your Instagram accounts to create your Threads profile! No waiting for an invite code (Bluesky), no trying to understand which instance you should join and how to find people (Mastodon). 

But while the app gained 100 million sign-ups in the first week, active users plummeted from 49 million on 7th July to 12 million on the 22nd (according to SimilarWeb).

Threads had major issues with accessibility at launch (you can’t use ALT text, for example), and some basic features are still missing – such as being able to easily post gifs.

Experts are warning about privacy issues – especially in light of Meta’s history, and they’re still working on allowing users to delete their Threads account without deleting their linked Instagram account (although you can deactivate it).

Threads also had to impose rate limits on users a few weeks after launch as it tackled an influx of spam.

Chloe has some tips and tricks for brands that are new to Threads. There are still some things to work out when it comes to managing a brand’s Threads profile. For now, we’d advise that brands focus on creating original, entertaining and lighthearted content on the app.


Elsewhere on social…

  • TikTok moves into text-based social media – TikTok has announced that it will start allowing text posts of up to 1000 characters, saying it wants to give people “a new way to create” on the platform. It could have been in the works for some time but given the state of Twitter…I mean, X, it’s being seen as a way to attract some former Twitter users looking for a new home.
  • Instagram is launching creator subscriptions – which are already featured on X and YouTube.
  • Mastodon user numbers have risen to 2.1 million in July as people explore alternatives to X.
  • Bluesky had to halt sign-ups at the start of the month as demand for invite codes soared due to the chaos Twitter/X has been going through. Bluesky is also having major issues with moderation and racism – for example, users have been allowed to set up accounts with racial slurs in their usernames, prompting a user backlash.
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