Twitter Rebrands to X and the Rivalry with Meta Grows 

Mason DeLargie
Mason DeLargie
August 9, 2023
Twitter logo with an arrow point to the new X logo Ontario SEO

In a series of Twitter changes, the platform has created a significant stir in the social media industry. From changing its image to reducing its search presence, and a tense rivalry with Meta’s “Threads”, Twitter is navigating a pivotal period in its history. 

Rebranding and the “X” Revolution 

The iconic blue bird that has long represented Twitter’s identity has been replaced with a monochromatic letter X on its desktop version, with a similar change expected for the mobile version. This bold rebranding move indicates a strategic shift for the platform, transcending its social media origins to aspire to become an “everything app” akin to WeChat. 

Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino elaborated on this transformation, describing “X” as the symbol of unlimited interactivity, encompassing audio, video, messaging, payments/banking, and creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities, all driven by the power of AI. The rebranding introduces new terminologies, with users encouraged to “x” instead of “tweet,” and other Twitter-related terms expected to adopt an “X” prefix. However, this shift raises concerns among marketers and advertisers regarding brand safety, particularly due to Twitter’s recent challenges in combating hate speech. 

The Index Saturation Drop  

In recent days, Twitter experienced a significant decrease in its indexed URLs on Google Search. This move came shortly after Twitter introduced a “feature” that restricted the display of tweets exclusively to signed-in and registered users. This selective blocking resulted in Google indexing only 180 million tweets from Twitter, a sharp drop from the previous 471 million, representing a 62% decrease in index saturation. 

While Google can still display new tweets through its firehose agreement with Twitter, older tweets are gradually fading from the core Google web search index. This reduction in visibility may have implications for Twitter’s overall presence in Google Search and potentially impacting brands that rely heavily on Twitter for visibility in the search engines. 

The Rivalry with Meta’s “Threads” 

Adding to the complexities, Twitter is reportedly blocking links to Threads, Meta’s latest social networking app and Twitter’s fast-growing rival. Users have noted that certain links to Threads are not functional, making it challenging to access conversations and user profiles on the app. Since its launch, Threads has become the fastest-growing social media platform in history, regularly trending on Twitter. 

The blocking of selected links to Threads appears to be a strategic move by Twitter to retain user engagement on its platform rather than losing users to its competitor. American technologist and blogger, Andy Baio, raised concerns about the selective blocking, calling it “anti-competitive” and accusing Twitter of building a walled garden that limits open expression while promoting free speech. 

Why We Care 

Digital marketers should closely monitor Twitter’s transformative phase, which includes a rebranding as an “everything app” with the symbol “X” and challenges like a drop in index saturation and rivalry with Meta’s Threads. This evolution will significantly impact user engagement, content visibility, and brand safety, influencing marketing strategies. Marketers need to assess how the rebranding affects user behavior and interaction, and the decrease in index saturation may impact brand visibility on Google Search. The competition with Meta’s Threads also holds significance for marketing decisions, especially for brands with a strong presence on both platforms. Adapting strategies to Twitter’s response to these challenges is crucial to remain effective and relevant in this dynamic social media landscape.