As you may have heard, Elon Musk has bought Twitter. Of course, that won’t happen instantaneously, and probably will have to be looked at by regulators. If the deal goes through, Twitter will become a privately held company.
Not long after that was announced, some people noticed that their follower count had dropped – or that it increased. TechCrunch reported that the fluctuations in follower counts were organic in nature. In short, Twitter said this was due to new account creation and deactivation and were not caused by bots or due to action on Twitter’s part.
NBC News reported that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), as well as other accounts on the political right, “saw their follower counts skyrocket”.
NBC News also reported that pop star Katy Perry, the third-most followed user on Twitter lost more than 200,000 followers after the announcement. Former President Barack Obama, the most followed user on Twitter whose number increased every day in April, lost more than 300,000 followers after the announcement. Mark Hamill tweeted that he lost 8,000 followers.
The Verge reported that data compiled by The Verge from social media statistics site Social Blade
shows that in the two days since the deal was completed, influential conservative accounts have increased at roughly ten times the average daily rate for the month leading up to the acquisition. According to The Verge, popular liberal accounts have suffered, collectively losing thousands of followers on April 25th and 26th after a month of gains.
The Verge compiled a list of 100 influential Twitter accounts, 50 each from the political left and right and each with a minimum of 100,000 followers.
Out of the 50 conservative accounts in the dataset, 48 made unusually large follower gains on April 25th and 26th, while only two accounts lost followers. On April 26th, the conservative accounts in their dataset gained 17,229 followers on average. The single largest gain went to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who gained 141,556 followers.
All 50 of the liberal accounts in their dataset lost followers across the same two days. On average, each account lost 6,062 followers on April 26th, with the single largest loss from the account of Vice President Kamala Harris, whose follower count decreased by 22,453.
What does all this mean? All we can do is speculate. It appears that a large number of conservative people think that Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into a site where anything goes and they can post whatever they want to without facing any sort of consequence. We can also speculate that some people who are liberals have concerns about what Twitter might become after the acquisition. Some announced that they would be closing their account.
Right now, there is no way to be certain what Twitter will become after regulators take a look at the acquisition. For now, the block button still works, and it is still possible to curate your Twitter feed to ensure you can keep in touch with your friends.