If there is a social network whose history has given much to talk about in recent months, that is Twitter. The platform known for its posts of barely 140 characters has even been about to die due to an unexpected move by many users: its purchase by Elon Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and has gone through many important moments.
One of them, the suspension of the account of the president of the United States, Donald Trump. Also the resignation of Jack Dorsey – who precisely founded Twitter – as the head of the platform. Or the “firing” of Parag Agrawal just a few months after he took over the reins of the company.
These, precisely, are some of the most relevant events that have emerged on the platform. Twitter, however, has a long history from its inception, to the day everything changed, and here’s the perfect summary.
The beginnings of the history of Twitter
Twitter, specifically, is a microblogging platform founded by four businessmen, including Jack Dorsey, who also managed the company. In the list of creators of Twitter, however, there are also other important names. Among them, Evan Williams, who previously worked at Google and who was also at the controls of the company’s management; Biz Stone, also a former Google employee and current CEO of Jelly industries; and programmer Noah Glass, who was fired shortly after the social network went public.
The goal of the platform was to allow users to express their opinions or how they felt in just 140 characters. Since then, the social network has been gaining popularity and the development team has been adding new features. Among them, a feature that would allow the company to earn revenue through advertising: sponsored tweets. Or the launch of Periscope, to make live videos.
Twitter also became a public company; It went public in September 2013, but went private again after the acquisition by Elon Musk.
In 2021, Jack Dorsey resigns as CEO of Twitter
As I mentioned at the beginning, before the South African tycoon bought Twitter, the platform has gone through very important events. Many of them, moreover, just a few months ago.
One of the moments that has marked the most in the history of Twitter was when, in November 2021, Jack Dorsey resigned from his position as CEO after 10 years in command. His replacement was Parag Agrawal, an Indian engineer who joined the company in 2011 and earned great credit for increasing Twitter’s audience and improving the social network’s advertising systems. In fact, in 2017, he was named chief technology officer (CTO). During the period from 2017 to 2021, Agrawal was working to fix the bias in the algorithm’s systems, which often prioritized right-wing content and racist posts, Twitter itself revealed.
The most notable thing about Parag Agrawal as CEO of Twitter was, without a doubt, the suspension of Donald Trump’s account after the assault on the capitol. After the removal of the profile, the former president of the United States repeatedly questioned freedom of expression on the platform; something that Elon Musk also did.
The tycoon even went so far as to ask his millions of followers if Twitter adheres to the principles of freedom of expression, and if they believe that the platform’s algorithm should be open source. Weeks later, he bought so many assets in Twitter that he became one of the company’s largest shareholders and thus a member of the board of directors. Musk resigned from that position in exchange for a more ambitious plan: buy the entire platform.
The day everything changed in the history of Twitter: Elon Musk becomes the owner of the social network
In April 2021, Musk announced his intention to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, despite the board’s warning that it was not for sale. The also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, looked for an alternative: to carry out a Hostile OPA. That is, buy a large part of the shares to have a greater representation in the company. After weeks of negotiations, Twitter accepted the offer. Musk, however, had trouble getting enough cash to complete the transaction and even backed down.
The abandonment of the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, did not like the company at all, and he decided to take the matter to court. Musk eventually showed interest in the purchase again, and several months after his initial announcement, he ended up acquiring all of Twitter for $44 billion. On October 28, 2021, the mogul completed the purchase and became head of Twitter.
Musk is still in charge, but maybe not for long
Since then, and until now, Elon Musk has been making movements that have not been liked at all, neither inside nor outside Twitter, and that, for better or worse, are also part of the history of the social network. The tycoon has carried out thousands of layoffs since he owned the company, he has returned the accounts to users like Donald Trump (who has not returned to Twitter) or Kanye West (Musk had to suspend it again for his tweets in favor of Nazism). He also claimed to guarantee freedom of expression on the platform, leading users to believe they were apt to sow hate through tweets.
Musk has also announced the possibility that any user can be verified if in return, he pays $8 a month for Twitter Blue. Characteristic that at first was a chaos, since many took advantage of the badge to impersonate the identity of the people. Elon Musk also went so far as to accuse Apple of removing all of its advertising on Twitter—something many advertisers also did after the purchase—and of trying to remove the app from the App Store.
Despite all the controversy sown by Elon Musk, the social network continues to function normally.
Finally, in July 2023, Twitter’s name and logo were changed and renamed X.
The tycoon has even gone so far as to affirm that he will leave his position as CEO when he finds a replacement, although he will continue at the foot of the canyon. The history of Twitter, therefore, will continue in the coming months. We’ll see what he surprises us with.