“Soon, we will say goodbye to the Twitter brand and, gradually, to all the birds,” Elon Musk announced on July 23 on this same social network. After buying Twitter in October 2022 for 44 billion dollars, the multi-billionaire did not hide his ambitions to cut the wings of the blue bird created 17 years ago to radically transform it.

Known as “Project X”, this plan is therefore not a surprise since the founder of Tesla has been talking about it for several months. He had already replaced the name of Twitter’s proprietary structure, Twitter Inc, with X Corp, last April. Today, the “x.com” URL already links to the Twitter homepage.

Here are the three things to know about the contours of this metamorphosis.

If, in the short term, X should only replace the name and visual identity of Twitter as we know it today, it is a big project that is looming in the long term for the social network. Elon Musk wants to transform the blue bird into an all-in-one application, with a multitude of services centralized in one interface.

He already made no secret of it on October 5, 2022, tweeting: “The purchase of Twitter is an accelerator for the creation of X, the application of everything. “The idea? Create a “superapplication” on the Chinese model of WeChat that would concentrate an instant messaging service, a payment system, and many other services that have not yet been detailed, to become a must in the daily lives of its users.

If we still know little about the precise scope of the services and the terms of use for Internet users – in particular its price and its financial model – Elon Musk had drawn the main lines of his project in June 2022, during his first exchange with Twitter employees. “Why aren’t more people using Twitter?” And why are people turning away from Twitter? If we can satisfy those reasons, then they’ll use Twitter more, and they’ll get more from the service, he argued. And, you know, if I think of WeChat in China, which is actually a super, super app, there’s no WeChat outside of China. I think there is a real opportunity to create that. In China, you basically live on WeChat, because it’s very useful in your daily life. If we could achieve that, or even come close to it with Twitter, that would be a huge success. »

Initially a simple instant messaging application, the Chinese application developed by Tencent has become a system embedding a payment system, videoconferencing, video games, photo and video sharing between friends and even food ordering. A model that the boss of SpaceX with overflowing ambitions wants to duplicate.

Without giving much more detail, Linda Yaccarino, the new head of Twitter, posted a message describing X as “the future state of boundless interactivity – centered around audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – and creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services and opportunities”… All powered by artificial intelligence.

If the mention of the letter X reminds you of something about the founder of Tesla, that’s normal. He sprinkles a little of it on all his projects. In 1999, he was already launching his start-up X, an online bank. The company was eventually integrated into PayPal, the behemoth co-created by the multi-billionaire, but Elon Musk took over the “x.com” domain name…in 2017, according to Numerama. He thanked PayPal for the name buyout on Twitter at the time, saying, “Nothing planned at this time, but it has great sentimental value to me. »

Not sure what subtle clues gave it way, but I like the letter X pic.twitter.com/nwB2tEfLr8

And the X is really everywhere in the life of the businessman. Starting with the name of one of his sons, X Æ A-12, X for friends. His aerospace company, founded in 2002, is called SpaceX. At Tesla, the electric vehicle manufacturer he founded, the most luxurious car is the Model X.

For the new Twitter, the bulk of the discussions today revolves around the logo and the new visual identity of the social network. Elon Musk wanted an “Art Deco” and black X. The latter has already replaced the blue bird at the top left of the page.

The revolution is underway, and Linda Yaccarino, the company’s CEO, for her part published this Monday morning a photo of the new logo projected on Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco.

Lights. Camera. X! pic.twitter.com/K9Ou47Qb4R

This radical change comes at a time of turbulence for Twitter. Since its takeover by Elon Musk, the American company has lost more than half of its advertising revenue, admitted the serial entrepreneur. In less than a year, the latter has also initiated several waves of layoffs. Result: less than 2,000 people now work for the social network, compared to some 7,500 employees before the takeover.

Another shadow on the board: the arrival of other major players from whom we will have to distinguish ourselves. “There are many competitors that Twitter will have to fight,” Sinan Aral, a management professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told ABCNews.

Among them, Threads, the most serious of them. This application was launched by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, to offer a competing service to Twitter. Connected to Instagram, the application allows you to post, as on Twitter, short texts (500 characters maximum), to integrate photos, videos and external links. They can also do the equivalent of a “retweet”, i.e. republish the content of other Internet users. On their feed, users see the news of those they follow, but also content recommended for them by algorithms.

The success was immediate. If the application is not authorized in Europe due to non-compliance with data protection regulations, it is already acclaimed by singer Shakira and NBA star Seth Curry, and crossed the 100 million user mark just four days after its launch on July 6.

A victory to put into perspective since the marketing company Similarweb has just revealed that the number of active users has been halved, from 49 to 23 million between July 7 and 14, and that their engagement has dropped from 21 to 6 minutes per day in the United States.

So will Threads become a sanctuary for some of Twitter’s 368 million monthly active users, furious at being deprived of the original social network? Or is it time for X to set itself apart from this new competitor for good? It is in any case a new illustration of the balance of power that prevails between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, who claim, laughing, to be ready to put on the gloves and compete in a cage to find out who will be the biggest tech giant.