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Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

The end of the year makes for a brief summary of everything digital. Here’s a quick recap for you.

2023 turned out to be one of the most eventful years for the digital sphere of the world of advertising. The year served as a backdrop to the whole drama that unfolded around the Musk-helmed Twitter, sorry, X. 

From the fall from prominence of the online gaming ecosystem to third-party cookies breathing its last, to big tech Alphabet's increased focus on news content and privacy, and major players of the space zealously foraying into artificial intelligence, the year was one to document. And document we did.

As we come to the end of the year, here's a look at what made the news in digital throughout the year.

The Twitter-X drama

In March 2023, Elon Musk materialized his entrepreneurial vision, establishing X Corp and merging Twitter into 'X,' marking the beginning of a transformative phase for the platform.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

In April, Musk's focus on subscription models reached its pinnacle as Twitter Blue became the exclusive pathway to obtaining a blue checkmark, responding to the ongoing challenges posed by advertiser withdrawals.

In June, faced with mounting pressure and the hashtag #RIPTwitter gaining momentum, Musk stepped down as CEO, appointing Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO on June 6, signaling a pivotal change in Twitter's leadership.

Come July, Twitter introduced tier-based tweet restrictions, granting Twitter Blue users access to 10,000 tweets daily, while non-subscribers were limited to 1,000 tweets. Additionally, Musk responded to advertiser exodus by slashing advertising prices by almost 50% on July 27, albeit with uncertain results.

July also marked a significant visual change as the iconic blue bird vanished, making way for a plain X, aligning with the platform's shift towards becoming an "Everything app."

In September, Twitter embraced new features, including audio/video calling, a job search tool, and the ability for paid users to upload two-hour videos, challenging competitors like YouTube.

As the platform continued to evolve, Musk made a bold move in August, removing news headlines to enhance readability and aesthetics. However, this decision was reversed in November.

By November, Twitter took another step by introducing 'Ad Revenue Sharing' for creators, signaling a new era in compensating content contributors.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

All these moves seemingly didn't have an impact on the advertiser exodus that has been plaguing the platform since Musk took over. Advertiser trust in Musk's vision seems to take a hit with each passing viral "incident", leaving Twitter's future uncertain as the new year unfolds.

2023: End of Online Gaming?

What started out as a year full of promise for the online gaming business of India took a stark downturn in July.

On July 11, The Goods and Services Tax Council imposed a 28% GST on online gaming, affecting entry fees and winnings, irrespective of the game's skill or chance nature. This move, coupled with existing charges, significantly diminished the allure of "big winnings." Industry leaders criticised the decision, arguing it contradicts efforts to promote a healthy domestic gaming sector and could push users toward illegitimate platforms.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

The unexpected tax rate has been detrimental, hindering industry growth, innovation, and overall viability. Companies like WinZO and Baazi are experimenting with other markets and other models in a bid to sustain their business.

New Developments at Google

Due to the increasing privacy concerns in the initial part of the year, Google was battling legal issues, including a high-severity warning from India's CERT-In regarding potential security challenges in Chrome. Similar concerns arose in the EU and the US over privacy practices and the launch of the generative AI chatbot Bard.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

Google thus accelerated efforts to address privacy by announcing the general availability of Privacy Sandbox on September 7, aiming to curtail third-party cookies as part of its commitments dating back to 2019.

In Q1 2024, Google will be deactivating third party cookies for 1% of Chrome's users. Google has also said that it would introduce the ability for third-party developers to simulate the process for a configurable subset of their users (up to 10%) in Q4 2023.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

During 'Google for India 2023' event, Google unveiled an "immersive watch page experience for news stories" on YouTube, called the 'Watch Page for News.' Accessible only on mobile devices, this feature aims to enhance the news-watching experience by presenting additional news content from diverse voices.

Rolled out in 40 countries, the feature introduces a new layout showcasing relevant long-form videos, live streams, podcasts, and Shorts, sparking both optimism and skepticism among digital news publishers in India.

The issue is more interesting as social media competitors of Google, Meta and X, have increasingly moved their focus away from news content. This move is expected to attract advertisers, offering substantial growth opportunities for both the platform and news publishers in the foreseeable future.

Tech brands riding the GenAI wave

The year saw an increased focus on big tech companies on developing their generative AI capabilities.


Amazon has entered the AI chatbot arena with Q, an AI-powered assistant for Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers. Currently in public preview with a subscription starting at $20 per user per year, Q offers personalized interactions and content generation based on 17 years' worth of AWS knowledge.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

It can be configured to connect to various apps and software, ensuring security and privacy with controllable actions and filtering capabilities. The announcement was made recently, expanding the competition in AI chatbot development.


Google is enhancing its Performance Max AI-powered product across various Ads platforms, allowing advertisers to effortlessly create fresh text and image assets. Leveraging Google AI, advertisers can generate different headlines, descriptions, and images, with the system tracking performance data to optimize results.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

The new AI tools, including SynthID for invisible watermarking, will be available in beta to all US customers by the end of 2023.


In November, Meta has unveiled two AI-driven video editing features for Instagram and Facebook. Emu Video generates short four-second videos based on prompts, while Emu Edit facilitates simple video modifications prompted by text.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape


In November, Elon Musk's xAI launched Grok, a chatbot still in testing, available to premium subscribers of X. Modeled after 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,' Grok aims to provide witty and humorous responses to human queries. In December, xAI's generative AI chatbot, GrokAI, became available in India and 46 other countries, including Pakistan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.

Revisiting 2023’s top stories from the digital landscape

Access is restricted to X's premium users, with a monthly subscription fee of ₹1,300 or an annual fee of ₹13,600. GrokAI, powered by the Grok-0 language model, is designed to answer questions with humor and a rebellious streak. Its wit has sparked controversy, and some users argue that it lacks political neutrality.

Meta's failure of Threads

On June, 23 Meta forayed into the text-based conversations arena with the launch of Threads. The app went available in both iOS and Android users in over 100 countries and crossed 100 million users in just five days. But within one week, its users dropped by half. 

Twitter witnessed a slew of operational changes under the leadership of Elon Musk, and many of the updates also attracted controversy. However, Threads failed to capitalise on it. 

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