X doesn’t mark the spot

December 1, 2023 (newsletter@insider.com)

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The big story
X doesn’t mark the spot
Is this the end of X? The website formerly known as Twitter seems like it’s on life support these days. You’ve probably heard that multiple times since billionaire Elon Musk took over, but the walls are closing in now.  In case you missed it, Musk had a very pointed message to advertisers threatening to boycott X. “Go fuck yourself,” he said before appearing to give a shoutout to Disney CEO Bob Iger.  It was a shocking moment in a wild 90-minute interview that touched on many things but was noticeably light on the upcoming Cybertruck launch. Musk also skirted two important questions about the future of X, as highlighted by Business Insider’s Katie Notopoulos: Would he ever sell X or use his own money to keep it afloat? One theory is that this is all part of Musk’s grand plan to deliberately destroy X, writes BI’s Jyoti Mann and Lara O’Reilly. 
If that’s the case, job well done. Some junior and senior-level sales staffers are reportedly taking the money and running. Many have left the company over the past month after receiving their bonuses, BI’s Grace Kay writes. 
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If this is the end of X, it’s one of those unique situations where no one comes out a winner. Let’s look at the major players in this saga: Elon Musk: The richest person in the world will always have fans, especially those who rode Tesla’s share price to a personal fortune. But setting aside his sycophants, Musk’s popularity has undoubtedly declined since his takeover of X. And as much as he likes to present himself as unbothered by critics, that’s clearly not the case.  Linda Yaccarino: She was an advertising titan before coming to X. Now she’s been reduced to putting out fires set by Musk. And her reputation could be at stake, as she’s reportedly getting texts from ad exes advising her to get out while she canBanks: The loans used to finance Musk’s deal for X are essentially radioactive. Back in October, The Wall Street Journal reported the lenders were prepared to take a $2 billion hit to offload them. With X’s downward spiral, the $13 billion debt pile they’re holding is only worsening. 
People who enjoy using X: For all its faults, X was our fun little corner of the internet. From starting silly debates to drawing attention to serious issues that led to significant changes, X served many purposes. But the platform has suffered under Musk, as everything from downloads to usage rates have dropped.
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