Well no, the mixed martial arts match between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg will not take place.
The scheduled date, Saturday 26 August, has now passed, and neither of the two contenders seems to want to fix another one. But it would certainly not have been an MMA match to designate a possible primacy between the two platforms that are the reason for the dispute, namely X for Musk and (above all) Threads for Zuckerberg.
As for Threads, it seems that after the initial boom, the social network is suffering no small decline. While X, ex Twitter, has been in crisis for some time due to a series of risky moves (and declarations) on the part of its owner, and there is hardly a day that some more or less alarming news does not arrive in this regard. To name the two most recent, X would slow down access to competing sites (including Threads). And, according to a study by an independent researcher, a large portion of Elon Musk’s followers on X would be represented by inactive accounts.
To try to recover, Musk has introduced a small revolution in his platform. What is it about?
On X, electoral commercials for the US presidential elections
On X, but then it was still called Twitter, campaign ads were banned in 2019. And let’s remember the reason: after Trump’s election as president in 2016, the blocking of commercials was designed to stem the rampant phenomenon of fake news.
The idea that Musk authorizes its diffusion again, therefore, should not bode well.
The post about X
Inevitably, the news came from a post by Musk himself on X. After the platform had already opened up the possibility of “cause-based announcements” in January, such as those that raised awareness of the importance of going to vote.
In the post announcing the green light for the electoral commercials for the 2024 US presidential elections, Musk referred to the much (he) celebrated “commitment to freedom”.
Even if we have already expressed ourselves several times on the concept of freedom on the part of the owner of X.
Elon Musk has also announced that the task force that monitors “manipulation of content” and monitors advertising transparency will be strengthened. Users were also reassured that fake news of a political nature and announcements that could undermine the population’s confidence in the electoral mechanism will always be prohibited.
Hunting for advertisers
We allow ourselves to doubt once again whether Musk’s move was made to allow greater freedom of speech.
Also because it was preceded, a few days ago, by a little reassuring signal. Donald Trump, let’s remember, was banned from Twitter after he incited the rioters on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. Elon Musk months ago rehabilitated the former president’s account, which however had remained silent. At least until last August 25, when (with a provocative but also dangerous gesture) Trump published his mugshot on X.
In short, we believe that the idea of opening X to commercials will serve Musk to bring back part of the investors escaped under his management.
The numbers of the crisis
Moreover, the decline in popularity of X has been confirmed by a recent report by Sensor Tower. According to which downloads of the social network have dropped by 4%, and in the ranking of analysts the notoriety of X has dropped from thirty-second to thirty-sixth place.
On the other hand, it was Musk himself, in the month of July, who made a non-sibylline statement for once. In which he admitted that X is low on funds, and that advertising revenue has dropped by as much as 50%.
New problems for Musk
Reading the latest news about him, it doesn’t seem like fortunes are changing for Elon Musk.
The entrepreneur appeared on Saturday, August 26 at a video game tournament, the Valorant World Championship in Los Angeles. Where he was loudly booed.
Beyond this venial (but symptomatic) affair, we learn from a Forbes article that X will face more than 2,200 lawsuits from former Twitter employees fired by Musk.
The company is accused of failing to pay severance payments and failing to pay arbitration fees to initiate the process. Figure, the latter, which would amount to about 3.5 million dollars. But which, according to X’s lawyers, is not due, because there is no obligation to settle such disputes with arbitration.