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The platform formerly known as Twitter is back in the news in a big way this week. There have been a series of announcements from X and external parties, all pointing to the possible futures for Elon Musk’s pet project.

Let’s start with the simplest. X has announced a deal with Paris Hilton — yes, the socialite, minor celebrity and nowadays professional DJ. To be fair to Hilton, she’s turned her 00s reality TV career into a mini-empire in the intervening years.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino shared the big news directly on the platform, and spokesperson Joe Benarroch provided more details to media, including that Hilton and X would be collaborating on four video projects a year. These include live shopping (browsing digital catalogues and purchasing via in-app browser) and “a host of new activations across all surfaces of X” (like the Spaces audio feature).

Benarroch confirmed to The Verge that Hilton’s deal was different to the advert impressions-based revenue share scheme it recently launched for select paid-tier users, but not how. One imagines it contains a hefty lump sum for the endorsement over and above the revenue-sharing agreement between X and Hilton’s media company, 11:11.

While the announcement lacked detail it did offer us a new Hilton-approved catchphrase: #sliving. Reportedly, a portmanteau of slaying and living, “sliving” is giving this X user nasty flashbacks to Hilton’s dreadful “that’s hot” era. Yaccarino’s also been reportedly courting Hollywood’s talent agencies, so Hilton may yet be joined by other celebs.

Reading between the lines, I’m seeing this as X’s play to kick off more celebrity endorsement of the platform and the wider range of services it anticipates launching as part of Musk’s superapp aspirations for X.

In a similar vein, Musk announced on Monday that X has successfully tested its live streaming option, which some Muskolytes (and probably Musk himself) hope will eat into Twitch’s live streaming dominance and potentially compete with YouTube content. The live stream facility is now available for premium subscribers only, but anyone — even we nonverified plebs — could tune into the streams if so inclined.

Live streaming, particularly of video game play, attracts huge global audiences, so this could be key to Musk and Yaccarino’s big dream, alongside live shopping, paid user tiers, content plans and payments — all necessary for the turnaround they’re chasing.

Citing anonymous sources, the Financial Times (FT) reported at the end of September that Yaccarino had lined up meetings this week with key people at the seven big banks that “that helped bankroll Elon Musk’s takeover of X”, to “lay out her plans to revive the struggling social media company”. Of course, she wouldn’t characterise the platform as struggling, despite a haemorrhaging of advertisers.

FT’s sources say this is a “high-stakes opportunity” to show “she has a plan to revive the social network by boosting the advertising revenue or even by moving into areas such as subscriptions and payments”.

This piece is particularly interesting, built as it is on unattributed banker sources, one of which told the FT that Yaccarino “has to get [Musk] out” if she wants to bring back the advertisers. Musk, it seems, could care less that his replatforming of controversial figures and stripping back of content moderation policies are not immediately attractive to traditional financiers and those holding the advertising purse strings. No, he’s busy doubling down.

For instance, on October 1 he posted that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “is trying to crush free speech in Canada” — in response to newly announced changes to the Canadian Radio, Television & Telecommunications Commission regulations. Well, actually, he posted this in response to journalist Glenn Greenwald’s post about the news, which claimed Canada was armed with “one of the world’s most repressive online censorship schemes”. The new regulation asks media and social media companies earning over a threshold in Canada to fill out a form. It has no implications for individual content creators.

There is a lot of room for interpretation, but some would consider Greenwald’s characterisation as misinformation, or even disinformation (which implies intent to deceive or at least muddy the waters) targeting a democratically elected government.

If it skirts too close to intentional misdirection, the post is in good company. The EU recently issued a warning to Musk and X, imploring them to comply with the EU’s strong new legislation on fake news and propaganda. A recent European Commission study found that X has the highest proportion of disinformation of major social networks. The commission examined a sample of 6,000 unique posts, drawn from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn and X, determining that the latter had the largest “ratio of discoverability” of disinformation and posts that the EU’s new Digital Services Act would deem illegal. X resigned from the code of practice on disinformation, but it is still obliged to comply or could face being banned in the region.

In July, an unsigned post on X’s blog declared: “Free expression and platform safety are not at odds”. It continued: “We are proving this every day through innovative enforcement policies that have helped reduce hateful content viewed on the platform.” But the majority of this post is X defending itself from the claims of the Center for Countering Digital Hate “and its backers” — remember when we spoke about dog whistles two weeks ago? — who it says “have been actively working to assert false and misleading claims encouraging advertisers to pause investment on the platform”.

The post even said, amusingly, that “X is a free public service funded largely by advertisers” which is true, I suppose, if we ignore that it’s also a corporate entity with a profit imperative, owned by one of the world’s richest men. And that it is actively paring down the functionality of the free user tier to funnel people towards subscribing, while promising funders that the great green (as in dollars) turnaround is just about here. #sliving

• Thompson Davy, a freelance journalist, is an impactAFRICA fellow and WanaData member.

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