Twitter users can now trade stocks on the platform – sort of
Musk's everything app begins to take shape ... by adding links to an outside service
In what looks to be another move to turn it into Elon Musk's dream "everything app," Twitter will begin allowing its users to trade stocks via "social trading company" eToro.
This feature, which is now live on Twitter and in the Twitter app, essentially adds a button to Twitter's interface that will allow users to visit eToro from Twitter's embedded web browser when looking up certain stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and commodities. From there, tweeps can use eToro to trade stuff.
"Following the launch of the eToro partnership, the list of $Cashtags that produce live price charts will be hugely expanded, while users will now also be able to click through to the eToro platform to see more information on the asset and have the option to invest," eToro said in a statement announcing the launch of the tie-up.
Cashtags, for those unfamiliar, are Twitter's method of labeling and searching for ticker symbols and other assets. It uses a dollar sign instead of the hash symbol traditionally used to tag searchable items on Twitter and other social media platforms. For instance, $SPY tracks an S&P 500-linked ETF.
In 2012 when Twitter launched cashtags there were minimal features – clicking on a tag would filter for discussions of a particular stock on the platform. In December of last year Twitter extended the functionality of cashtags by adding pricing graphs for some symbols, powered by financial charting company TradingView.
Now, when searching certain ticker symbols, such as, er, the Musk-run $TSLA, the Twitter website and mobile app show a screen like the image below, with a "View on eToro" button. Clicking or tapping on that opens eToro's web app, where eToro users can invest or join the platform.
eToro, a digital trading platform akin to Robinhood, complete with crypto trading, also partners with TradingView, at least as of late last month, for its own financial charting. That presumably makes it a simple fit to integrate into Twitter's codebase and Musk's ambitions to turn his social media platform into the biggest financial institution in the world.
Musk, whose youthful dreams have long included building an "everything app" he's called X since the PayPal days, have been boosted by his acquisition of Twitter, at least according to the billionaire. Recent legal filings in a long-running lawsuit between Twitter and a right-wing provocateur revealed that Twitter no longer existed as an independent company, and had been folded into Musk's X Corp; a presumably first step toward Elon fulfilling his dreams.
As we noted in previous coverage of Musk's attempts to build an everything app akin to those in China, the US' antitrust laws and its fractured landscape of companies that have invested time and money into becoming really good at one particular thing doesn't make a one-stop app nearly as feasible.
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China's everything app, WeChat, practically has the government's own blessing to operate as a multifaceted provider, as many of the western companies offering competing features have been banned in the Middle Kingdom.
In Twitter's case, instead of putting everything under its own umbrella eToro is simply being given a referral link that takes users right out of Twitter and into someone else's app. That's hardly a way to convince users that Twitter is the WeChat competitor that Musk wants it to be.
We asked eToro about its partnership with Twitter, including querying whether it was going to integrate more fully into Twitter's app in the future. It said it didn't "have any such plans yet, but wouldn't rule further developments out."
The company told The Reg: "There will be several thousand cashtags introduced as part of a gradual process. There was a technical issue with crypto cashtags today but we are working with Twitter to resolve the issue and are looking forward to the partnership covering a huge range and variety of assets."
Twitter, on the other hand, as is tradition, responded to our questions with a poop emoji. We love you too. ®