Social Media Giant X Takes Control of Twitter Handle “@music” from Long-Time User

Social Media Giant X Takes Control of Twitter Handle “@music” from Long-Time User

Social network Twitter, now rebranded as X, has come under fire for its recent decision to commandeer the handle “@music” from open-source software developer Jeremy Vaught. Vaught had created the account in 2007 and had built a community of approximately half a million followers. X forced Vaught to surrender the desired username, offering him the option to choose from a list of other handles related to music. Unsatisfied with the offered “@musicfan” account, Vaught begrudgingly settled for it. This move raises significant questions regarding the value and significance of a handle on X’s platform.

X’s terms of service, last updated in May, state that they have the right to remove or refuse to distribute any content, limit visibility, suspend or terminate users, and even reclaim usernames without any liability to the affected user. This flexibility to reclaim usernames raises concerns among content creators and influencers who may find it difficult to trust the platform long-term. Vaught expressed his apprehension, highlighting the potential loss of trust between creators and X as a result of this decision.

While Vaught had not monetized his “@music” account, he occasionally reviewed consumer hardware with a focus on headphones, earbuds, and other accessories. Brands sought his opinion due to his status as a social media influencer. Years ago, Vaught had worried that Twitter’s previous management would attempt to take over his handle. However, before Elon Musk acquired the company and appointed himself to the C-suite, Twitter decided to leave “@music” untouched and instead established its own “@twittermusic” brand. The future intentions of X with regards to the “@music” account remain unclear.

Loss of Investment and Impersonal Correspondence

Vaught revealed that he had previously invested in another of Musk’s ventures, the electric vehicle maker Tesla, although he currently holds no shares. He also paid a $100 refundable fee to reserve a Tesla Cybertruck, the company’s upcoming pickup truck model. Although Vaught expressed his disappointment with X’s decision to forcibly take over his handle, he still continues to use the platform. He did, however, create new accounts on Meta’s text-based competitor Threads and on Mastodon. Vaught explained that he finds Twitter to be the most interesting social media platform due to its active software development community.

The fact that X took control of “@music” from a user who had dedicated 16 years to the platform with only impersonal correspondence, like a technical support help ticket, disappointed Vaught. He acknowledged his pride in building the “@music” account, which amassed around half a million followers. As a software developer, he had been contemplating leveraging this audience to potentially capitalize on it. The sudden rebranding of Twitter to X last month also involved taking over the handle of another long-time user named “@x”, prompting discussions about intellectual property and users’ rights on social media.

When X informed Vaught of the need to relinquish his username, they assigned him the handle “@musicfan” and provided a list of alternative suggestions. Vaught expressed unease while browsing through the options, particularly because he discovered that “@musicfan” had been created in 2011. He hopes that X did not take away the handle from another user to assign it to him, but he has yet to receive a definitive answer from Musk’s social media company. Vaught summed up the situation by calling the entire process “skeezy.”

X’s decision to forcefully take control of the handle “@music” raises questions about the significance and value of usernames on their platform. Content creators and influencers may find it challenging to trust the platform long-term due to the potential loss of their desired handles. Vaught’s continuous use of X, despite his disappointment, highlights the platform’s ongoing appeal within the software development community. However, concerns persist regarding intellectual property and users’ rights in these ever-evolving social media landscapes.

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