What are the rivals of X?

by | Jun 18, 2024

Alternatives to X (formerly Twitter)

Since its inception in 2006, Twitter, now known as “X”, has revolutionized the way people communicate online. Throughout its history, it has faced competition from various platforms seeking to attract the same audience with different approaches and features. However, after the changes implemented by Elon Musk in the social network, many users began to look for new alternatives. In this article, we will explore some of the main rivals to “X” (formerly Twitter) and how each has tried to capture its share of the social networking market.

Twitter’s Changes After Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter ushered in a new era for the platform. With sweeping changes to verification, content moderation, organizational structure and new functionality, “X” is on a path of significant transformation. While some users applaud these changes, others express concerns about the future direction of the platform. What is undeniable, however, is that Musk’s influence has put “X” in the spotlight and created a dynamic and constantly evolving environment.

Here are some of the most important changes in X that have affected the user experience:

1.- Modification of verification.

Under Musk’s leadership, account verification has been tied to Twitter Blue, now X Premium, a subscription service. Now, any user who pays a monthly fee can get the verification mark, which democratizes access, but has also generated controversy over the authenticity of verified accounts.

In addition, different colors were introduced for verification marks: blue for individuals, gold for companies and gray for government accounts.

2. Moderation policy and freedom of speech.

Musk has advocated a more open stance on freedom of expression on the platform. This has led to changes in content moderation policies, with a focus on reducing censorship and allowing a wider range of opinions. However, this approach has also led to debates about how to handle hate speech and misinformation.

Changes to moderation policies, which were initially intended to expand freedom of expression, have led to an increase in controversial content, including hate speech and misinformation. Many users have expressed concern about the lack of control over this type of content. This is one of the reasons why some users feel that the platform has become more toxic and less safe, especially for vulnerable communities and minorities.

3.- Adjustments to the algorithm and user experience.

Another change that has affected users the most is the algorithm adjustments, as they have affected the way content is displayed, which has led some users to feel that they no longer see relevant or quality content.

This coupled with increased monetization efforts, including ads and subscriptions, has been poorly received by users who prefer a cleaner, less commercial experience.

Competition and alternatives to X

The perception that Musk is diverting Twitter from its original mission and focus has generated discontent among users loyal to the platform’s initial vision. Migration to new platforms reflects users’ desire to find environments that are safer and more aligned with their values and expectations.

The emergence of new social networking platforms, such as Mastodon, Bluesky and Threads, has offered users alternatives that may better align with their values and expectations in terms of content moderation and privacy.

1. Mastodon

Mastodon is a social network that allows users to post short messages, called Toots, similar to tweets. It was created by Eugen Rochko and launched in October 2016. It has some key differences that distinguish it from traditional social networking platforms such as open source and decentralization.

Unlike centralized social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, Mastodon is a decentralized network. This means that there is no single server controlling the entire network. Instead, it is made up of a collection of independent servers (known as “instances” or “nodes”), which can communicate with each other. Each instance is managed by individuals or communities, and has its own rules and moderation policies.

Mastodon is open source, allowing anyone to view, modify and contribute to the source code. This promotes transparency and collaboration in the development of the platform. In addition, it uses a protocol called ActivityPub, which allows interoperability between different decentralized social networking platforms. This means that Mastodon users can interact with users of other platforms that also use ActivityPub.

In this social network, users can make public, private (only visible to followers), or targeted posts to a specific list of users. In addition, most instances of Mastodon do not include advertising. This is because many are operated by non-profit communities that are funded through donations and user contributions.

Mastodon Challenges

Mastodon is a social network very similar to X, but with the advantage of not having advertising, being decentralized and above all that the user has much more control over their profile than in other platforms. However, despite these advantages, Mastodon is a social network that has not yet taken off.

One of its most important problems is that decentralization can lead to fragmentation, where users are scattered in many different instances. For new users, the idea of choosing an instance and understanding how interactions between instances work can be confusing.

2. Threads

Another social network that is emerging as direct competition to X is Threads, a microblogging application developed by Meta, designed to offer a Twitter-like experience and launched in July 2023. Threads focuses on real-time communication and short updates, allowing users to share text, photos and videos with their followers.

Being part of Meta’s app ecosystem, Threads is tightly integrated with Instagram, making it easy for Instagram users to move their followers. Users can post short messages known as threads that can include text, photos, videos and links.

Posts can be commented on, shared and marked as favorites by other users. The interface is designed to make it easy to navigate and discover new and relevant content.

One of the great advantages of this platform is that users have the option to make their accounts private, meaning that only their approved followers can see their posts.

Remnants of Threads

When Threads came out in 2023, it received a massive wave of users, with more than 10 million users joining in just a few days. However, as the euphoria over the new platform wore off, subscription dropped drastically. One of Threads’ biggest challenges is that it competes directly with other established microblogging platforms. So, attracting and retaining users on a new platform can be a challenge, especially when users are already invested in other social networks.

Like any social media platform, Threads needs to effectively address content moderation to avoid issues related to hate speech and misinformation.

3. Bluesky

Bluesky is a decentralized social networking platform that was started by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. The idea behind Bluesky is to create a social network that is not controlled by a single entity but is instead a network of independent servers that can interact with each other in an interoperable manner.

The project was launched with initial support from Twitter, but has developed independently. Bluesky is designed to be an alternative to centralized social networking platforms, offering greater flexibility and control to users and developers.

One of the key aspects is the development of the AT Protocol, which is an open protocol designed to enable the authenticated transfer of data between different social networking services. This protocol allows users to move their data and connections from one service to another without losing information or contacts.

Bluesky’s challenges

Mass adoption of a decentralized model can be a challenge, especially for users accustomed to centralized platforms. In addition, this model can complicate content moderation and the implementation of uniform security policies, which can result in issues related to abuse and misinformation.

In addition, like Mastodon, the learning curve for new users can be quite steep, which is conducive to users who quickly stop using it.

Recently, “X” (formerly Twitter) is facing a series of changes forcing its users to look for alternatives on various social platforms. While each rival presents different challenges, “X” has maintained its unique position in the market through its focus on real-time news and the simplicity of its quick updates. The key to any social media platform is the ability to adapt and evolve with the changing needs and preferences of users, and “X” is no exception. Tell us, did you already know X’s rivals, do you think they can surpass it someday?

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