The sports insider wars may have to be fought on new battlegrounds.
Shams Charania, Adrian Wojnarowski, Adam Schefter, Ian Rapoport, and others may soon no longer have access to the world by merely pressing send on Xwitter. Elon Musk is considering charging users for access to the social media platform.
On Monday, Musk and far-right Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in California. They had a public discussion that was live streamed on Xwitter about anti-semitism. Musk said that the social media platform is working towards having a small monthly payment requirement for users because, “That is the only way I can think of to combat the vast armies of bots.”
If Musk truly wants to address the anti-semitism on the social media platform he owns, he can deactivate the accounts of known white supremacists that he never should have reactivated in the first place, refrain from publicly engaging with white supremacists, and also not lash out when he is taken to task for platforming white supremacy.
With all of the goodwill that Musk has drained from Xwitter, many people will not want to pay for access to it, regardless of how insignificant the cost. The price could be 99 cents per month and most of the users who are unhappy with Musk will still leave the platform. Once that happens, Musk will have killed the breaking news element of Xwitter that makes it relevant — although not worth nearly the $44 billion that he paid for it.
Are Woj and Shams supposed broadcast all breaking news on Instagram Live? Is ESPN going to have to keep a small box with Schefter’s office on our television screens at all times, ready to be expanded to full screen at a moment’s notice?
Even before Musk purchased Twitter and began blasting cannonball sized holes into its hull, the social media platform was not at the top of the marketplace. What Twitter had before, and still has after the X rebrand, is influence. Sure, more social-media influencers are created on Instagram and TikTok, but what they don’t have is information. Xwitter still has access to instant, credible, information that can be disseminated at a moment’s notice. That information is listed forever in chronological order, as opposed to whatever Mark Zuckerberg is doing with Facebook and Instagram.
Other outlets then pick up that information and send it to all corners of the internet on their platforms. One tweet in the middle of the night in Feb. 2023 about Kevin Durant being traded to the Phoenix Suns, and, regardless of their interest in basketball or if they had a Twitter account at the time, most people were notified in some way about the deal.
That is why the insiders get paid millions of dollars. To be first on a story like that means that every time it is aggregated by a news outlet, that original tweet has to be cited. At its best, Xwitter is the best use of the 24-hour news cycle. Instead of watching the same top three stories on a loop every hour, people can get the basic facts, laugh at some reactions, and move on with their lives.
The thought of Woj getting beaten by Shams on every NBA story from now on because the younger newsbreaker can get the cameras on his phone and computer turned on faster is funny. Still, Musk changing the way news gets disseminated is but another unfortunate result of him being rich enough to ruin everything for everybody.
Enjoy your Schefter Xwitter alerts for the rest of the 2023 NFL season, because they might be gone in the near future.