2022 has been a really rocky one for social media companies, and it seems 2023 isn’t letting them off easily.
Case in point: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw the historic stock plunge of Facebook for the first time, as well as the loss of daily active users. In November, the company announced that it had laid off 11,000 employees, cutting off 13% of its workforce.
Twitter wasn’t marked safe as well with all the changes it went through for the second half of the year. After welcoming Elon Musk as its new czar, Twitter went into full chaos. Musk immediately laid off the company’s top executives and its 7,500 full-time employees, introduced a paid verification system, reinstated former United States president Donald Trump’s account, and suspended the accounts of many journalists before reinstating them again.
Now that we’re almost three months into 2023, the future of social media is (honestly) still looking pretty bleak.
Here’s a quick rundown of the latest news about social media that’s making us think it’s imploding and entering its flop era right now.
Twitter is still in shambles post-Musk takeover
As we’ve said before, Twitter has been chaotic ever since Musk took over the company, and it still hasn’t changed right now.
Earlier this month, Twitter’s development team announced that they would eliminate the free access to its application programming interface (API). According to the platform’s development team, they would start charging as low as $100 monthly (approximately Php5,000.00) for low-level API usage.
Paid basic access that offers low level of API usage, and access to Ads API for a $100 monthly fee.
— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) February 8, 2023
API is a tool used to “programmatically retrieve and analyze data” and “engage with the conversation on Twitter.” Basically, it’s a tool that enables people to access data others share with the world.
While some may think this might not be a big of a deal, the paid access to API poses a big concern for researchers and scientists as the platform is the most accessible source of data for them.
Aside from that, this news also affected humanitarian aid organizations and other disaster response teams and groups as they have been using the app to monitor and provide rescue in times of crisis.
Twitter also introduced a new policy where the SMS-based two-factor authentication will only be available to Twitter Blue subscribers.
Effective March 20, 2023, only Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to use text messages as their two-factor authentication method. Other accounts can use an authentication app or security key for 2FA. Learn more here:https://t.co/wnT9Vuwh5n
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) February 18, 2023
Another recent issue is that the company is currently facing numerous lawsuits filed by six companies for not paying their bills.
The first complaint was from Columbia REIT which hit Twitter with a lawsuit in December for failing to pay rent in the office space Musk leased in San Francisco, California. It was followed by Private Jet Services Group, Blueprint Studios Trends, Innisfree M&A, and Analysis Group. The most recent to file a lawsuit against Twitter is from tech startup Writer, Inc., who the former owed $220,000 for subscription fees.
On the other hand, Twitter once again has undergone another round of layoffs of employees amid its cost-cutting measures, cutting off at least 50 jobs and affecting the company’s multiple engineering teams. This layoff marked the eighth time Twitter fired its employees, with the company staff down to merely 2,000 staff.
The Bondee hype has rapidly fizzled out after weeks since its initial launch
Remember Bondee, the metaverse app that went viral in January? Yeah, that app fizzled out and kind of met its quick, uncool death.
A few days after its launch on January 17, Singapore-based social networking app Bondee had many users, particularly Filipinos, hooked with its features that allowed users to customize their avatars to turn into mini versions of themselves and design their own virtual space. The app even showed the creativity of many Filipinos as they generated a slew of Bondee-related memes.
However, after two weeks of people enjoying the app and living in a fantasy world, many users appeared to slowly leave the app as it got, dare I say, pretty boring. It honestly got repetitive and there was nothing much to do.
It feels like everybody thought the same thing as #RIPBondee trended on Twitter, with many showing that they have deleted the app.
Meta introduced paid verification subscriptions for Facebook and Instagram
It appears that Zuckerberg is following in Musk’s footsteps as he launched Meta Verified, a new paid verification service.
On February 20, the Meta CEO announced in a Facebook post that Meta Verified is a subscription service that would allow users to verify their account with a government-issued ID in exchange for a blue badge, extra impersonation protection, and direct access to customer service. The said feature, which will cost $11.99 per month on the web or $14.99 on iOS and Android, would start to roll out in Australia and New Zealand.
In a blog post, Meta revealed that the paid feature also offers exclusive features for its subscribers and will help increase its visibility. It is available on both Instagram and Facebook, but the deal breaker, however, is that users are required to subscribe to each app separately.
To put it simply, a user will have to pay approximately $23.98 when subscribed on the web and $29.98 on iOS and Android. Double the money, double the blue badge it seems.
The news of Meta’s new subscription-based product was met with dismay from the platforms’ users, with many saying Meta Verified will experience the same fate as Twitter Blue (which didn’t go well, by the way).
They really seen the shit show over here and was like “oh yeah let’s do that” lol
— GameboyJones (@GameboyJones) February 20, 2023
ELON LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE pic.twitter.com/3656Psce0W
— Blaze⚡️ (@BlazesAccount) February 19, 2023
nobody asked for this, elon set the bar so low
— adrián❄️ (@adrianmaciaaas) February 19, 2023
A verified badge was supposed to be a way for public figures to show that was their real account and now everyone can have one? What’s even the point now? This obsession with that it’s embarrassing 🤡
— Rafa (@olicitybuddie) February 19, 2023
First Twitter Blue.
Now Meta Verified?
– monthly subs are multiplying, alarmingly quickly
– they're banking on the fears of AI easily impersonating anyone
– solopreneurs; you're getting milked for every penny
– social media is becoming pay to play
What do you think? pic.twitter.com/uxhltRIduV
— swishy🌊 (@examinedalive) February 20, 2023
TikTok is reportedly harvesting data and spying on their users
Video-sharing platform TikTok has gained prominence in recent years because of its fun nature. However, the app posed a national security threat as it was caught allegedly harvesting data and spying on its specific users in the United States.
As first reported by Forbes in October 2022, they found out that ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based parent company, was planning to “monitor the specific location” of multiple Forbes journalists to track down their sources.
In December, the allegations were confirmed by ByteDance, which led to the company firing Chief Internal Auditor Chris Lepitak and China-based manager Song Ye resigning.
After the company’s admission, many lawmakers called for the banning of TikTok across the United States. In fact, US President Joe Biden has signed a 4-126 page bill into law stating the prohibition of using TikTok by four million federal government employees, except for law enforcement, national security, and research purposes.
This isn’t the first time TikTok has found itself in hot water with the United States. In 2020, the Trump administration tried to ban the video-sharing app as it is a “threat to national security.” However, this was revoked by the Biden administration, citing that they needed evidence that they indeed posed a security risk.
Now that ByteDance has admitted to spying on some US individuals and with a leaked audio supporting the allegations, it’s not yet sure what the next step will the US government take.
Meanwhile, in the other parts of the world, the European Union’s Commission has already banned the app from its officials’ devices, while Canada recently launched a joint investigation into whether TikTok is complying with Canada’s privacy laws.
Snapchat is experiencing technical issues
We’re not even halfway into 2023, yet the popular mobile app Snapchat has disappointed and irked many of its users.
Earlier this month, it was reported that users found out that Snapchat Games, the app’s gaming feature, was not working despite many of its audience using it. Snapchat explained in a tweet that the feature, along with Minis, were no longer available as they would focus on other products of the app that “would be beneficial to creators and content viewers.”
Hi there. Games and Minis are no longer available. We'll be bringing more focus to other Snapchat products and features that will be beneficial to creators and content viewers.
— Snapchat Support (@snapchatsupport) February 7, 2023
A week later, users were left upset by the app once again as many experienced connection errors that wouldn’t allow them to log out of the app. According to some people, when they tried to log out, a message would pop up, saying: “Connection Error. Could not log out. Please try again later.”
— diegoramirez (@realdiego2100) February 10, 2023
Not long after, Snapchat yet again experienced another technical issue. But this time, users claimed that they were “permanently locked out” of their account for “no apparent reason.”
With social media facing issues left and right, we couldn’t help but wonder: could these be the signs that we’re witnessing the downfall of social media right now? Could this possibly be the end of its era? Or is it experiencing a dip, en route to its upward trajectory again?
Well, we definitely don’t know, but one thing’s for sure: social media is one weird place right now.
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