There has been an apparent mass exodus—and entrance—of Twitter users following the news that Elon Musk will take over the company.
Since it was announced that Musk had struck a deal to buy the social media platform for $44 billion, a number of high-profile Twitter accounts have seen huge swings in their follower numbers.
Twitter has been looking into these fluctuations and has said it will continue to do so.
According to the company, account creations and deactivations are largely responsible for the sudden fluctuations in follower counts being seen across the platform. The phenomenon occurred organically in recent days, rather than being a consequence of Twitter closing accounts that violate its user policies—hinting that swaths of people signed up to or deleted Twitter in the wake of the news that Musk’s takeover deal had been accepted.
The move toward or away from the platform appears to track political affiliation, with some exceptions.
While data from social media tracker Social Blade shows many prominent left-leaning users—including Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—have lost tens of thousands of followers since Monday, a number of conservatives—including Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene—have seen their follower counts tick massively upward.
Cruz and Taylor Greene have each gained more than 100,000 followers since Tuesday, according to Social Blade. Joe Biden and Barack Obama have seen smaller gains.
Musk has stated intentions to take Twitter private once his takeover of the firm is complete, saying that he wants to make the social network “a platform for free speech.”
In a survey of almost 2,000 U.S. Twitter users carried out this week by research firm Time2play, 16% of respondents said they would leave the site if Musk’s acquisition was finalized—which could cost Twitter $828 million in annual revenue, Time2play said.
Time2play’s survey also found a link between political leanings and views on Twitter under Musk. A total of 97% of Fox News watchers told researchers they would not delete their accounts if the billionaire’s takeover of Twitter goes ahead, while almost a third of MSNBC watchers said they would delete their accounts if Musk is in charge of the platform.
The survey also found that one in four American Twitter users planned to stop using the site if former President Donald Trump’s account was reactivated. Twitter permanently closed Trump’s account in January 2021 following the Capitol riots, “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”—but questions have arisen in recent days about whether a Musk-run Twitter would overturn the suspension.
Trump told Fox News on Monday that he was not planning a return to Twitter, regardless of whether he was permitted to do so.
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