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What is Elon Musk's X, the 'everything' app? Here's what you need to know

"Twitter is an accelerant to fulfilling the original X.com vision," Musk tweeted just days before buying Twitter last year.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Elon Musk, billionaire and chief executive officer of Tesla, at the Viva Tech fair in Paris, France, on Friday, June 16, 2023. Musk predicted his Neuralink Corp. would carry out its first brain implant later this year. Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Elon Musk, billionaire and chief executive officer of Tesla, at the Viva Tech fair in Paris, France, on Friday, June 16, 2023.

Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Elon Musk shocked Twitter users (again) with a rebrand of the social media platform, complete with a name change and a new logo that did away with the brand's iconic blue bird. Twitter is now X, with X.com redirecting to Twitter.com. But what is "X"? Musk's vision for X has been a long time coming, and the Twitter rebrand isn't as surprising as it may seem. 

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Just weeks before Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion, he hinted at his vision for the social media platform, tweeting that "Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app." 

What's with the X on Twitter?

INDIA - 2023/07/25: In this photo illustration, Twitter official account page is seen displayed on a smartphone with a New Twitter X logo in the background. (Photo Illustration by Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Musk announced the rebrand of Twitter on July 23, tweeting that "http://X.com now points to https://twitter.com/. Interim X logo goes live later today." Just hours later, a black and white X logo replaced the Twitter bird, and the social media platform was renamed X. 

"For years, fans and critics alike have pushed Twitter to dream bigger, to innovate faster, and to fulfill our great potential," Linda Yaccarino, recently appointed CEO of X, tweeted. "X will do that and more. We've already seen X take shape over the past 8 months through our rapid feature launches, but we're just getting started."

Also: Bluesky vs. Threads vs. Mastodon: If you leave Twitter, where will you go?

Musk made statements in late 2022 that he would rebrand the social media platform and gradually phase out "all the birds." Twitter was founded in 2006 and has maintained the bird theme, alluding to its name. 

X alludes to Musk's desire to create an "everything app" like WeChat, a Chinese platform for messaging, voice and video calls, social media posts, mini-programs, payment services, and more. 

What is "X, the everything app?"

Musk has in the past floated the idea of turning Twitter into the next "super app," on par with multi-faceted platforms popular in Asia, such as WeChat or Grab. 

Back in 2022, on the All-In podcast, Musk said that the US needs a super app. "It's either convert Twitter to that or start something new. It does need to happen somehow," he said. 

"If you're in China, you kind of live on WeChat," Musk said. "It does everything. It's sort of like Twitter plus PayPal plus a whole bunch of things all rolled into one, with a great interface. It's really an excellent app, and we don't have anything like that outside of China."

Also: 5 reasons to try Twitter rival Bluesky

The super app, he continued, should serve as a "digital town square" that lets users leave comments and post videos. Once the platform had a high level of trust among the public, Musk said, "Then payments, whether it's crypto or fiat, can make a lot of sense."

At a town hall event with Twitter employees a month later, Musk reiterated that idea. In China, users basically live on WeChat, Musk said, "because it's so usable and helpful to daily life, and I think if we can achieve that, or even get close to that at Twitter, it would be an immense success." He also suggested that Twitter's user base could grow from just over 200 million to "at least a billion people," CNN reported. 

Also: Twitter seeing 'record user engagement'? The data tells a different story

In October, Musk said, "Twitter probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years, but I could be wrong." The next day, he remarked, "Twitter is an accelerant to fulfilling the original X.com vision."

Creating a US-based "super app" would be no easy task, especially given the number of heavy hitters with similar ambitions. Facebook and Instagram have pushed into e-commerce, for instance, while Amazon has extended into several facets of everyday life beyond book sales, like manufacturing and cloud computing.

What's the deal with the letter X?

At the root of wanting to create an "everything app" called X, Musk's fixation with the letter X started 24 years ago. 

Musk co-founded an online bank called X.com in 1999, which later merged with another company to form PayPal. In 2017, he reacquired the domain name X.com from PayPal for an undisclosed sum, tweeting that the domain held "great sentimental value" for him. 

Meanwhile, Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, and via his car company, Tesla, released the Model X in 2015. 

Also: Twitter to limit your direct messages unless you pay up

To pursue his Twitter bid, Musk established three holding companies in Delaware in 2022, all with variations of the name "X Holdings." 

In April of this year, court documents found that Twitter, Inc no longer existed, which prompted Musk to tell the company's corporate partners that Twitter would be operating as "X Corp".

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