When Elon Musk acquired Twitter, he apparently intended to incorporate it, “as an accelerant for X, the everything app.” Not only has this sparked the usual buzz about freedom of speech and the Musk takeover, it also testifies to the mounting impulse to bring to market a non-specialized “everything app.”
Of course, the most common everything app used by billions around the world is WeChat, which Business Insider dubbed “Apple’s biggest threat in China and…a [potential] blueprint for Facebook’s future” in 2019. (1)
WeChat: the everything app that already exists
WeChat offers the full array of a smartphone from the convenience of a single app. “You use it to message your friends, buy your groceries, hail a ride, and even book a doctor’s appointment. It’s basically impossible to exist in China without it.” (2)
“There is no Western app quite like WeChat. But it’s been said to present Apple’s biggest existential threat in China, even as Facebook inches towards turning its own ecosystem into something a lot like WeChat.” (3)
Now, Musk comes out claiming to have had the intention to incorporate Twitter into an everything app before he acquired the platform. Musk explains this when justifying his decision to change the branding. “The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140-character messages going back and forth – like birds tweeting – but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video. In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world. The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird.” (4)
Because business is increasingly occurring on comprehensive platforms evocative of WeChat, pressure has compounded on tech companies to create integrations that fit into these environments. That’s why MultiLine by Movius, a Saas technology that adds a business line to any smartphone, built an entire WeChat integration. Two lines, one phone.
If you do business in China, you need MultiLine. You can send and receive messages from your MultiLine number to an end-users WeChat message. You can also perform calling from a MultiLine number to a WeChat supported number. (5)
The features of the MultiLine-WeChat integration include:
- Call, SMS and social messaging – all within MultiLine app
- Shared messages inbox containing SMS and social messaging threads
- Supports one-to-one messaging between MultiLine App and external WeChat users
- Supports group messaging for members of the same sub-organization.
- Supports data loss prevention feature with ability to redact or block WeChat messages as per business defined policy
- Optional recording of all WeChat messages (with recording add-on)
- Support for iOS and Android
To read more, visit: https://help.moviuscorp.com/help/about-wechat-messaging-connector
On Twitter’s rather controversial history
Twitter’s reputation changed when then-president Donald Trump used the platform to disseminate messages to the people, bypassing institutions like newspapers and, thereby, bypassing fact-checkers.
By 2020, the New York Times asserted that nearly one-third of the President’s Tweets over the course of a week contained “falsehoods or murky accusations,” causing the CEO at the time, Jack Dorsey, to label the president’s claims as “false,” “missing context,” or “disputed.” The main topic of controversy was mail-in voting. Labeling these messages was seen as a prudent solution to the fact that the app allowed the bypassing of fact-checkers up to that point. (6)
However, Twitter’s fact-checkers were accused of bias. The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability found that the company had been, “infiltrated to deliberately limit free speech, particularly conservative speech and news contrary to the mainstream narrative.” (7)
On October 27, 2022, Elon Musk purchased enough Twitter shares to take over the platform. Musk claimed to be motivated by the desire to preserve free speech. “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Musk once wrote. Critics have argued that Musk’s Twitter allows misinformation and platforms abusive people. (8)
This controversial history matters because as X develops into “an everything app,” businesses and people will be increasingly implicated in this cultural debate. If I must go to Elon Musk’s app to order a rideshare or to pay the woman watching my dog, then I will inadvertently be bound by his speech policies or exposed to his lack thereof.
Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.” (9)