Twitter – Twitter, one of the biggest social media platforms, began laying off thousands of workers around the end of 2022.
After the long-awaited acquisition, Elon Musk, the new owner and CEO, made the final call on whether to separate ways.
Musk pointed hundreds out the door with intentions to mold the business in his vision.
The decision has backfired on him and the social media site, though, as several ex-employees are starting their own services to compete with Twitter.
During the first round of layoffs at the social media firm in 2022, Sarah Oh lost her job as a human rights advisor.
She launched T2 alongside former Google and Twitter employee Gabor Cselle after being laid off as a result of the situation.
T2 is a social media platform with features that most users are accustomed to using that closely resembles Twitter.
It presently has a 280-character restriction and is in the beta testing stage.
The similarities are uncanny, although T2 is more concerned with security.
“We really do want to create an experience that allows people to share what they want to share without fearing risk of things like abuse and harassment,” said Oh.
“We feel like we’re really well positioned to deliver on that.”
Other rising competitors
Users weren’t too pleased with the new CEO’s following decisions after the Musk acquisition:
- Slashing Twitter staff
- Rethinking content moderation policies
- Lifting bans on several suspended accounts
As a result, many consumers have been attracted to emerging brands like T2 and Spill by Sarah Oh and Gabor Cselle.
Another firm founded by ex-Twitter staff members, Spill, has the support of one of Twitter’s investors.
Meanwhile, former CEO Jack Dorsey plans to introduce Bluesky, an entirely unique service.
While T2 is modeled after Twitter, some startups use a different approach.
For instance, the creators of Instagram announced their comeback with the launch of a new app called Artifact.
The software advertises itself as a “personalized news feed” that makes use of AI.
People compared the description to Musk’s social media business.
However, testing has found Artifact having similarities to news reader programs like Apple News.
Popular items from well-known media outlets and smaller blogs are displayed by Artifact in the main feed.
Depending on the users’ actions and chosen interests, different news is displayed.
Each firm seems to be utilizing the chance to solve Twitter user complaints.
An alternative, not a replacement
The Anti Software Software Club co-founder Jae Kaplan created Cohost, a text-based social networking site, last year.
Cohost is similar to Twitter.
Around June 2022, Cohost was introduced to the public after Musk made a bid to purchase Twitter.
“Something that we’ve heard a lot from people who are moving from Twitter, either partially or fully, is that it is just for them a nicer experience overall,” said Kaplan.
Following the Musk acquisition, Cohost experienced a spike in activity in November.
80,000 new users were accepted within 48 hours.
“People have been referring to us when they do as a Twitter alternative,” said Kaplan.
“Which I think is an important distinction from a Twitter replacement.”
However, since Twitter has served as the major network and home for journalists, politicians, and celebrities, it is difficult to take their position.
Additionally, some people have been using the blue platform to monitor real-time news for years.
Although certain apps and services, like Cohost, are gaining popularity again, Twitter, which had more than 200 million daily active users in 2022, still has a much larger user base.
Despite barely having over 20,000 active members, Cohost claims to have 130,000 users.
T2 now has a five-digit waitlist, according to Sarah, and she anticipates that figure to rise.
The most prominent competitor to Twitter, Mastodon, surpassed 2.5 million subscribers in November 2022.
But the number has dropped to over 1.4 million members, suggesting that the site may suffer the same fate as previous providers.
Senior research analyst Tom Forte from D.A. Davidson spoke to the movement and said:
“The incumbent has the advantage of scale, and even in a situation where you have kind of a polarizing figure like Musk take over Twitter, people are realizing that the new platforms are not nearly as effective from a one-to-many, getting your message out there.”
“Despite the fact that there may be disgruntled consumers, they’re still tweeting.”
Elon Musk has bragged about the social media company’s increasing user base after the takeover in November.
Many users expressed skepticism and called to leave the site.
Additionally, it was hard to verify the claims since Musk turned the business private after the acquisition in order to avoid having to disclose user counts in quarterly financial filings.
“If people leave, where do they go? By all accounts, there is no platform right now that is able to take on the junction of Twitter, and nothing is really prepared for it,” said Karen North, a USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism clinical professor.
“No platform has the global user base, representing people from all walks of life the way that Twitter does.”
The initial uproar and media coverage around the new CEO have reportedly subsided in the months since Elon Musk finalized the purchase.
The majority of users no longer feel the same urgency as in October, even if disagreement clearly still exists.
Mastodon’s creator, Eugen Rochko, isn’t very concerned, though.
“A platform cannot continue to go viral perpetually,” said Rochko.
“The cycle of media news and attention on social media just simply goes away after a while, but behind it leaves organic growth which is what we had before November, and which we still have now.”