Elon Musk has said that social media app X, formally known as Twitter, “may fail” after a technical glitch deleted all photos and links posted on the platform before 2014.
Collateral damage includes the most retweeted photo on the site, Ellen DeGeneres's famous Oscar selfie, which has since been restored.
Since Musk reduced Twitter to a skeleton team, technical hitches on the platform have been rife – with users reporting a range of issues including deleted Tweets, slow loading times, and malfunctions with the app's direct messaging feature.
X Glitch Deletes All Photo's Posted Before 2014
In X's latest public snafu, all photos and links posted on the platform before December 2014 were temporarily erased over the weekend due to what many are assuming to be a technical glitch.
All links, photos, and videos posted before this date were replaced with broken short links, prompting many users to criticize the newly rebranded company and express thoughts about leaving the platform.
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Included in this wipeout, was Ellen DeGeneres's famous 2014 Oscar Selfie, which featured a cluster of celebrities including Brad Bitt, Bradley Cooper, and Jenefer Lawrence. While the photo has since been restored, lots of archival content is still missing from the platform.
As the social media company falls further into debt, many users suspect the glitch may have been a measure aimed at cutting costs. However, the timing and nature of the incident seem to be linked to a move Twitter made in 2014 when the site altered the metadata for non-text posts like links and native attachments.
Elon Musk Admits That X May Fail
In the wake of X's latest technical issue, Elon Musk took to the platform admitting the platform “may fail, as so many have predicted”.
However, in the same breath he claimed that there are no other great social networks right now, and that he's trying to make the newly rebranded X “at least one”.
The sad truth is that there are no great “social networks” right now.
We may fail, as so many have predicted, but we will try our best to make there be at least one.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 19, 2023
While Musk may be prone to hyperbole, his latest Tweet — which was viewed by over 50 million people — displays some long-overdue awareness about the fate of the social media platform.
Since the multi-billionaire first took the helm at then-called Twitter, technical issues like glitches and outages have played a major role in dragging down user experience on the app.
In 2023 alone, glitches recorded on the website have logged users out involuntarily, deleted Tweets, prevented users from sending messages to each other, and blocked users from accessing their own timelines.
These malfunctions are hardly surprising though. Since Musk acquired the company he's fired over 80% of X's staff, including teams policing hate speech and misinformation and software engineers responsible for the smooth running of the site.
As X's cost-cutting rampage continues, it's expected that the platforms' functionality will only deteriorate further going forwards. But while X's fate may be sealed, what about Musk's assertion that there are no great social networks left?
Are There Really No Great Social Media Apps Left?
Twitter's user numbers may be dropping rapidly, but its cultural imprint and roster of influential users do separate it from alternatives like Cohost, BlueSky, and Post.
But this doesn't mean other platforms don't stack up. Zuckerburg's insurgent app Threads reached 100 million users in under a week, proving that the market is indeed ready for a viable competitor.
Apps like Mastodon provide a great antidote to X's toxicity and top-down hierarchy too, with the German-born social media site offering a unique decentralized structure that allows each server to create its own rules and regulations.
Truth be told, whether or not these alternatives will ever be as popular as X remains yet to be determined. But with so many capable social media apps available, and new options popping up regularly, it's highly likely that X won't be the hottest platform on the block for much longer.