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    HomeBusinessElon Musk now is charging users who want access to TweetDeck

    Elon Musk now is charging users who want access to TweetDeck

    The company formerly known as Twitter has revoked free access to TweetDeck, a tool for power users used primarily by journalists, and is now directing users to a sales page for X Premium, the company’s new name for the subscription service it previously called Twitter Blue.

    X owner Elon Musk teased the change back in early July when he posted that the company would be launching “a new, improved version of TweetDeck,” saying that the new version would support longer posts, Twitter Spaces, polls and the ability to post longer videos.

    But many users were surprised Tuesday when they went to sign in to TweetDeck and were directed to sign up for X Premium, which, among other things, bestows a blue check mark on paying users for a fee of $8 a month.

    “Well, Elon’s company just took away my tweetdeck,” posted Kevin Grout, a marketer in Victoria, British Columbia. “That just might be the nail in the coffin of this site for me. Why did he have to come along and destroy something that has been an integral comms tool for me for nearly 15 years?”

    TweetDeck provided users the ability to follow multiple feeds and lists simultaneously and to easily spin up a real-time news feed based on topics or geographic areas. It also allowed users to easily toggle between accounts, post across multiple handles and schedule posts.

    Some of this functionality has been incorporated into X’s primary website. Users can now swipe between lists on the app’s homepage, for instance, but posts within the list feeds are ranked algorithmically, not chronologically, making it harder to follow real-time news on the native X app.

    Andrew Dyer, a military and veterans affairs reporter at KPBS News in San Diego, said he relies on TweetDeck daily to do his job. It’s the only platform that allows him to simultaneously monitor breaking news topics and hyper-niche lists with information on his areas of coverage. “It’s totally invaluable, and there’s nothing that replaces it,” he said. “It gives you real-time situational awareness of the news.”

    But he said he was unlikely to sign up for X Premium. Dyer said he feels the change and others Musk has made are calculated to drive journalists from the platform.

    “From the moment he took over, he’s always been kind of hostile to adversarial reporting,” Dyer said, “and it just seems like everything he’s done has been to cut the legs out from [under] journalism and journalists.”

    Social media consultant and analyst Matt Navarra warned that TweetDeck’s sudden shutdown is “bad news for social media managers, journalists, and power users” — the designation given to people whose work or interests require intense computer use for long periods of time.

    The disappearance of free access to TweetDeck is the latest move by Musk to try to generate revenue from users rather than advertising, which has slumped in the 10 months since Musk bought the site for $44 billion, laid off three-quarters of its staff and introduced a series of changes to the way the site is moderated that angered civil rights groups, advertisers and others.

    Judd Legum, an independent journalist and founder of the newsletter Popular Information, said that “as far as Elon Musk goes, it fits a pattern of him just making the service worse. He keeps taking away things instead of adding things. TweetDeck is another example of something that had a lot of value for people that’s taken away.”

    Legum said that he doesn’t plan to pay for X Premium but that he might change his mind because there are few alternatives to TweetDeck.

    “What TweetDeck allows you to do as a journalist is take control of the information you’re getting and really specifically drill down into a topic before it is trending,” he said. He said alternatives are limited because Musk also has restricted access to X’s API, or application programming interface, the software that allows third-party apps to make use of X data.

    “Things that work off the Twitter API, all those have broken too,” he said. “So, I’ve got to figure out some strategy.”

    Twitter acquired TweetDeck for $40 million in 2011 but had done little to develop it in recent years. While Twitter integrated more multimedia formats into its primary product, such as live audio and video, TweetDeck remained primarily a text-based tool. Twitter briefly tested a new version of the product in 2021, before Musk’s takeover, but it was never rolled out publicly, and the company shuttered TweetDeck’s Mac version.

    Musk, meanwhile, has been attempting to push more users into paying a monthly subscription fee to use X. He rolled out the ability to purchase a blue verification check, which led to increased spam in comment replies and much confusion among users as impersonation became rampant. Musk also introduced the ability to post longer text and video posts as part of the app’s premium offering. But because Twitter is now a private company, it no longer is required to post the results of such moves, and it is unclear how many users are now paying for the service.

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