Perhaps it's a way of navigating Twitter's legal liabilities, perhaps it's a step toward creating a WeChat-esque "everything app," or perhaps it's a bit of both. But Elon Musk's lawyers now say that Twitter "no longer exists," and he tweeted just the letter "X."
Just after midnight last night, Musk posted his cryptic one-letter tweet. And as Bloomberg reported Tuesday, lawyers for Twitter said in a legal filing on April 4 that "Twitter no longer exists," and it has been merged with Nevada-based X Corp., which was set up last month and of which Musk is listed as president. This is a new development, following a trio of holding companies that Musk apparently set up in April 2022 as he was making his bid to buy Twitter — one appears to be called X Holdings Corp., which is the parent company of X Corp. Got all that?
The intentions with this remain unclear, except that we know that Musk is interested in creating an "everything app" like China's WeChat, likely combining messaging and tweeting with making payments, ordering taxis and meals, booking hotels and event tickets, and more. And, as Bloomberg notes, Musk still owns the domain X.com, which was set up way back when he had an online payments company with that name which was ultimately merged with PayPal.
The lawsuit to which the lawyers were responding last week was one filed last May by anti-Muslim conservative activist Laura Loomer against both Facebook and Twitter, claiming that the platforms "use hate speech [bans] as a pretext to commit illegal acts under RICO statutes." Loomer was seeking $10 billion in damages, and it named Mark Zuckerberg and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as defendants — even though Dorsey stepped down from the CEO role in November 2021.
Bloomberg reached out to the firm representing Twitter in the Loomer case, and they have not responded, nor does Twitter respond to any media inquiries these days — Musk's midnight tweets are about the extent of Twitter's corporate communications right now.
Per Bloomberg, "The move sparked intense speculation on Twitter about what it meant, with Musk’s tweet attracting more than 13 million views within hours," and "In Japan, the topic 'Twitter Gone' started trending, with users joking that Twitter’s new name will resemble that of a local rock band, X Japan."
We have now officially been forecasting the death of Twitter for something like 13 years now, and it's doubtful that Twitter is going anywhere or will visibly change anytime soon. But Musk is up to something and this is our latest clue — along with his jokily changing the sign outside Twitter HQ to say "Titter" over the weekend.
Another curious development, which may be linked to this corporate ownership shuffling: A lawsuit was dropped this week by one of the landlords suing Twitter for back rent, this one for a space at 650 California Street that Twitter is currently subleasing. But that could just be because Twitter paid what was owed, or they worked something out.
Regarding the company's lack of a comms department, Musk also tweeted on Monday, "We need a VP of Propaganda... err I mean Public Relations!"