For Elon Musk, X equals everything (2024)

Elon Musk has wanted to build into a super app for a very long time. As described by Walter Isaacson, who is writing a Musk biography, when Musk launched the online bank in 1999, his original concept was to turn the website into a “one-stop everything-store for all financial needs.” That company would eventually be folded into what we now know as PayPal, where Musk tried (and failed) to bring back the X name.

In 2023, is back, intended as a replacement for Twitter with an even grander mission. “In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world,” Musk wrote on the social network he now owns. “The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird.”

What does that mean in practice? Newly installed CEO Linda Yaccarino described a bold and vague vision for the app that’s far beyond the microblogging platform that once felt like the pulse of the internet. “X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities,” Yaccarino wrote. “Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine.”

Musk’s description of where Twitter is heading was even simpler. His goal is to “transform” the social network into X, “the everything app.”

Sure, that jargon all sounds like something Kendall Roy might say on Succession. But it’s also grounded in some amount of reality;apps like Musk’s still-fictional version of X do exist. Even before he officially took over the company, Musk was talking about turning Twitter into something like WeChat, the near-ubiquitous app in China that offers a bunch of services on top of social media. Many of Twitter’s product moves under Musk’s ownership have been steps in that direction, and there are hints that more are in the works.

It’s easy to take this all as a joke. The jargon. The hurried announcement. The “er” getting left on the company’s sign because it apparently didn’t have a permit for the crane to remove them. But if it’s not a joke, it could be the start of something much bigger. Or possibly just a much bigger, splashier, stranger downfall for Twitter.

What could X be?

A “super app” like WeChat

In May 2022, shortly after Musk had put his deal for Twitter “on hold,” he discussed his admiration for WeChat on the All-In Podcast. (One of the hosts of the podcast, David Sacks, worked with Musk at PayPal.)

“For those that have used WeChat, I think that WeChat’s actually a good model,” Musk said. “If you’re in China, you kind of live on WeChat. It does everything. It’s sort of like Twitter plus PayPal plus a whole bunch of other things all rolled into one with actually a great interface. It’s really an excellent app. We don’t have anything like that outside of China.”

Those features include mini-apps made by developers, opening up WeChat’s capabilities significantly. And X itself is already experimenting with letting verified organizations (which pay to be verified) post job listings.

Musk has also been open about his vision for making X a place where money flows. At his first meeting with company employees after officially taking ownership of Twitter, for example, Musk said there was a “transformative opportunity in payments.”

For Elon Musk, X equals everything (1)

For Elon Musk, X equals everything (2)

X / Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino will be on stage at this year’s Code Conference to discuss Twitter’s transformation into X, working alongside Elon Musk, and courting advertisers to the platform.Apply to attend Code here.

“From an information standpoint, not a huge difference between, say, just sending a direct message and sending a payment,” he said. “They are basically the same thing. In principle, you can use a direct messaging stack for payments. And so that’s definitely a direction we’re going to go in, enabling people on Twitter to be able to send money anywhere in the world instantly and in real time.” Later, he described some ideas that sounded an awful lot like making Twitter a bank.

X doesn’t just want to handle payments for its users; it wants to pay them for their work making content for the platform, too.Some who subscribed to the product formerly known as Twitter Blue were notified in mid-July that they would be getting a portion of Twitter’s ad revenue — an initiative Musk first announced in February. Many said they received thousands of dollars. Musk said on July 22nd that the company would soon share revenue for ads on profile pages, too, which he claims will “approximately” double payouts.

Musk isn’t the only tech leader to see the potential opportunity of a super app in the US. Instagram has shopping, Meta Pay lets you send money over Messenger, TikTok is reportedly about to launch an e-commerce business, and Snapchat made a run at offering apps within its app before eventually dropping them, just to name a few examples of apps trying to expand beyond their core social media focus.

The utility of X / Twitter as a super app does make some sense. It would be handy to have one single app in the US where you could read about anything going on in the world, message your friends to hang out, get some money from the bank, book a reservation at a restaurant, and then hail a car to get back home. (I’m sure Musk would want it to be a Tesla robotaxi!)

But a WeChat-style super app might not be possible for X. Regulators are keeping a much closer eye on social media and technology companies than they used to, so they might step in to prevent any one app from owning too much of your experience on the internet. And it might just be hard to get people to switch over to X for things like grocery shopping or banking because there are a lot of popular incumbents at this point.

How about the social stuff?

Even if the super app idea is ultimately a bit nebulous at the moment, we can already see that Musk is trying to turn Twitter into a supersize social app. What might that look like?

A social network

Even if the bird iconography is going away, as far as I can tell, will still be a social media platform at its heart. It seems like you’ll still be able to scroll through posts (formerly tweets, now, according to Musk, “x’s”), see conversations, look at photos and videos in your feed, and DM other users. Well, DMs won’t be quite the same, thanks to...

A subscription service

Many of Twitter’s best features are behind the Twitter Blue subscription, including a verification checkmark, editing posts, fewer ads, higher rankings in conversations and search, longer tweets (I’ll talk more about that), longer videos (and that), and even getting a cut of the company’s ad revenue (and that). There are also some “features” that are exclusive to Blue subscribers as well, including unlimited direct messages and, at least earlier in July, the ability to read way more tweets per day than unverified users.

As for the potential new name for the subscription, its X account page is currently named “Blue Subscription,” and its handle is @XBlue. While Musk told one Twitter user he would “consider” the suggestion to switch the name to X Black, it fortunately seems like he was joking when he told another that the new name would just be “Balls.”

A place to read a lot of text

You may have noticed that some posts are absolutely huge now. That’s because, under Musk’s ownership, the company has slowly increased the character count for Blue subscribers from 4,000 to 10,000 to, now, 25,000. (Nonsubscribers are still limited to 280 characters.)

Those expansive character limits might be just the start. Musk recently confirmed that the company is working on a feature that will let users share “very long, complex articles.” “You could publish a book if you want,” Musk said.

A place to watch video

Now that Blue subscribers can upload videos that are two hours long (up from one hour as of December, which was up from 10 minutes previously), you might be able to settle in for entire movies on the social network. If you know where to look, that has been entirely possible: in one instance, I saw somebody reply to a Musk post with a full reupload of Shrek the Third. (Unsurprisingly, it was taken down.) And if you like a video so much you want to save it for later, you’re able to do that — well, if you’re a Blue subscriber.

While all of this stuff about pirated movies is very funny, Musk seems very serious about building out Twitter as a potential YouTube competitor.

A place to host voice rooms with other people

Spaces, the social audio room feature, has stuck around under Musk’s ownership, and I suspect it will continue to be a key part of the app. Musk himself has participated in a lot of Spaces, including a disastrous one to help launch Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign and better ones with car CEOs to announce their switches to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) port for electric vehicles. Spaces, to me, make more sense than other aspects of the X plan: posts can be a way to broadcast text to a huge audience, and Spaces let you broadcast audio.

But will it all work?

That’s a lot of things to pack into one app. Although WeChat is a model for that actually being successful, it’s going to be an uphill battle for X.

Even if the app becomes more useful, many have lost trust in the platform for an array of reasons. Verification is now bought, not earned. Musk has supported often-offensive conservative figures like DeSantis and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. And the ads seem to have gotten much worse.

Twitter is also facing some huge competition on its core turf: text-based microblogging. Meta’s new Threads service had a huge launch but is losing a bit of steam. TikTok just added text posts. Federated platforms like Bluesky and Mastodon have growing communities as well.

Musk’s gamble is that users will want a super app to handle everything to do on the internet. I’m not sure that they do; my sense is that people just want a safe place to quip about things like Barbie or the Women’s World Cup. Twitter often doesn’t feel like the best place to do that right now, and I don’t think adding banking is going to change my mind.

For Elon Musk, X equals everything (2024)


What does Elon Musk want X to become? ›

Elon Musk wants to turn X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, into an “everything app.” Imagine a single app for your private messaging, news consumption, shopping and even banking. In China, WeChat fills that role, and Musk has spoken publicly about replicating that model using X in other countries.

What is X's mission statement? ›

The X (formerly Twitter) mission statement is “to promote and protect the public conversation — to be the town square of the internet.” And the X vision statement is “to be the ultimate 'everything app' that revolves around audio, video, messaging, payments, and banking and is powered by artificial intelligence.”

What is X valued at now? ›

Fidelity listed its stake in X at $5.6 million on Nov. 30, 2023, down from its original share of $19.7 million. That suggests the value of the entire company is now $12.5 billion, down about 72 percent from Musk's original purchase price.

How much of X does Elon Musk own? ›

One year after Musk purchased the platform, X's worth dropped from its $44 billion price tag to less than half of that. Reports in late 2023 put X's valuation at $19 billion, indicating that Musk's supposed 79% stake in the social media platform was by then worth only $15 billion.

Will X be a dating app? ›

Both described the call overall as "scripted," but it wasn't without off-kilter comments. During the call, Musk attempted to take a tone of excitement for what X will look like over the next year, the people present said. X will in 2024 be a "fully fledged" dating site, he insisted, as well as a digital bank.

Will X become a super app? ›

As of April 2024, X is at a crossroads in its ambitious journey to transform from a social media platform into a super app. To get a sense of how much further X has to go to achieve its goals, we've compared it with the existing super apps mentioned above. Social media. Messaging.

What is the SpaceX motto? ›

In SpaceX's headquarters, you will find pictures of a terraformed Mars on the wall and employees walking around in T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Occupy Mars.” If you ask the barista at the espresso and froyo bar what his job is at SpaceX, he will likely reply, “making life multiplanetary.”

What are the core values of SpaceX? ›

SpaceX's Core Values

They include innovation, risk-taking, inclusion, and diversity. Innovation: As a pioneering company in space exploration and technology, SpaceX places a strong emphasis on innovation.

What does Elon Musk use instead of WhatsApp? ›

Signal. Signal is one of the most obvious choices for the more privacy and security conscious. The messaging service has endorsem*nts from the likes of Elon Musk and Edward Snowden — with the latter crediting its security conscious approach for him still being alive.

How much money is X losing? ›

The docs obtained by Bloomberg also show X lost $456 million in the first quarter of 2023.

Is X making money or losing money? ›

X's revenue has plunged

In the first six months of 2023 — the first full year in which Musk controlled the company — X's revenue fell by nearly 40 percent from the same period the prior year. The company brought in $1.48 billion during that time period. Furthermore, X lost $456 million in the first quarter of 2023.

Who owns X? ›

X Corp. is an American technology company established by Elon Musk in 2023 as the successor to Twitter, Inc. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of X Holdings Corp., which is itself mostly owned by Musk.

Can you invest in X? ›

As a private company, there is no way for most people to invest directly in X (unless you're an X employee yourself). But there are a few ways to invest indirectly.

Who owns the most shares of X? ›

Largest shareholders include BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group Inc, Pentwater Capital Management LP, Pentwater Capital Management LP, Dimensional Fund Advisors Lp, State Street Corp, HAP Trading, LLC, Bluefin Capital Management, Llc, IJH - iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF, and VTSMX - Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund ...

What did X used to be called? ›

It originally derives from a Phoenician letter called samekh, meaning fish, which was used to represent the sound "s". "The Greeks borrowed it, called it 'Chi', used it for the 'kh' sound and wrote it as a diagonal cross," explains Thorne.

What is Elon Musk goal for SpaceX? ›

The company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and ultimately developing a sustainable colony on Mars. The company currently produces and operates the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets along with the Dragon and Starship spacecraft.

What does Elon Musk desire? ›

Entrepreneur says he wants to ensure 'good future' for Earth

“I'm motivated by curiosity more than anything, and just a desire to think about the future and not be sad,” he said in the interview. “I'm sometimes sad, but I'm mostly feeling, I guess, relatively optimistic about the future these days.

What is the purpose of X social media? ›

X (formerly Twitter) is an online news and social networking site where people communicate in short messages. The hope is that your words are useful and interesting to someone in your audience. X is one example of a microblogging platform.

What is the X platform used for? ›

The X Platform processes data on-site, reducing latency and ensuring quicker response times. Highlight: By combining edge computing with cloud analytics, our platform offers the best of both worlds – immediate data processing and comprehensive insights.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated:

Views: 6497

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.