While each news organization has its own individual style, many of them are largely based off that of The Associated Press. And many non-news organizations also rely on AP style, at least as a starting point. So when that organization makes a decision on how they’re going to refer to something, it’s a relatively big deal. And they sparked particular controversy there Wednesday with an announcement on how they’re going to refer to Twitter going forward, opting to use company owner Elon Musk’s pushed “X” name:
An update to the @APStylebook:
On first reference, refer to the platform as X, formerly known as Twitter. The term tweet remains acceptable …
Also acceptable is phrasing such as posted on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter. On later refs: the X platform or X.
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) July 26, 2023
While Twitter Inc. merged with Musk’s X Corp in April, the service only changed how it wants to be called this week, including having x.com redirect to Twitter.com and replacing the Twitter logos (on the site, on their building, and in their building) with X logos. And there are plenty of cases of continuing with platform names despite different corporate names: Google is the largest division of Alphabet, while Facebook and Instagram are divisions of Meta. The “X” rebranding has also sparked widespread derision, including for picking a name that both Microsoft and Alphabet have some registered trademarks for and for picking a logo based just on the Unicode X. So this AP decision has taken some criticism:
It's gonna be Twitter from me dawg. https://t.co/fMf4TWDCkU
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) July 26, 2023
they can try whatever they want, we’re still gonna call this hellhole twitter https://t.co/gMj2vmUMAU
— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) July 26, 2023
"On Wednesday, YE, the rapper formerly known as KANYE WEST, took to X, the social media network formerly known as Twitter to blast Xe, the company formerly known as Blackwater." https://t.co/B4qEN8q7Nb
— Zack Stanton (@zackstanton) July 26, 2023
This is very, very convoluted (and wholly unnecessary). https://t.co/eTDYwFoCWf
— Luke Epplin (@LukeEpplin) July 26, 2023
— Lance Hartzler (@lance_hartz) July 26, 2023
MLB.com’s Mike Petriello got off a nice DMX reference:
No. I will never, ever do this. No one's ever gon' give it to them. https://t.co/IZdpvAYtHf
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) July 26, 2023
For another perspective, University of Chicago Ph.D student Matthew Borus pointed out how starkly this timing stands in contrast to other efforts to push AP Stylebook change:
In the past few weeks, I’ve been reading about the uphill battle that organizers have waged to get the AP stylebook to use less offensive disability terminology.
But if you’re a billionaire doofus, the AP snaps to attention. https://t.co/Vrvnk3yvfN
— Matthew Borus (@MatthewBorus) July 26, 2023
At any rate, at least the AP Stylebook didn’t needlessly insult the French this time. But we here at Awful Announcing are electing to stick with “Twitter” for now, a decision made after consulting the “Not using bloody stupid names” section of our stylebook.