A data firm has found that Twitter may have lost over a million users since new boss Elon Musk bought the tech company for $44 billion, showing that some users have been suspended by the company and others may have deactivated out of protest.
The firm Bot Sentinel tracks inauthentic Twitter behavior by analyzing over 3.1 million accounts and their daily activity.
Bot Sentinel believes approximately 877,000 accounts were deactivated and another 497,000 were suspended between October 27 and November 1, more than double the usual number, Daily Mail reported.
‘We have observed an uptick in people deactivating their accounts and also Twitter suspending accounts,’ said Christopher Bouzy, founder of Bot Sentinel.
Bouzy and Bot Sentinel came up with the numbers after analyzing their proportion of users and seeing how many suspended or deactivated, and then applying that to the total number of Twitter users.
Twitter currently has around 237 million ‘monetizable daily active users,’ according to the firm. The company could not be reached for comment on the story.
They found that around 0.59 percent of the users they monitor had suspended or deactivated, which indicated a 208 percent increase in account losses compared to the days before Musk purchased the company.
Bouzy pointed to users complaining about Musk’s takeover to explain why many people may have logged off of Twitter for good.
‘We believe the uptick in deactivations is a result of people upset with Elon Musk purchasing Twitter and deciding to deactivate their accounts in protest,’ he said.
He also said he believes many accounts were suspended partly because they tried to test what hate speech is now permissible under the platform’s new leadership.
‘We also believe the increase in suspensions is from Twitter taking action on accounts purposely violating Twitter’s rules to see if they can push the limits of free speech,’ he said.
Globally, searches for ‘How to delete Twitter’ surged by 500 per cent in the past week, from October 24 to October 31, security firm VPNOverview found.
Another analysis by Network Contagion Research Institute showed that use of the N-word on Twitter increased by almost 500% in the 12 hours after Musk announced he completed the deal.
According to Bloomberg, only 15 people can currently remove posts at Twitter as part of the corporate transition.
Bouzy said the mass exodus of users does not bode well for the platform, and it may end up being used less and less.
‘I believe if users continue to deactivate their accounts en masse, it will become a significant problem for the platform,’ said Bouzy.
‘If left-leaning and marginalized people leave the platform, Twitter will not differ from Parler or Truth Social.’
Since Elon’s take over, the social media site has limited some content moderation tools – just before the midterm election.
It may hamper staff’s ability to stop misinformation, as they will not be able to manually change or punish accounts.
Musk is also expected to cut half of all Twitter jobs on Friday and introduce a controversial $8-a-month blue check-mark charge for verified users by Monday.
Prominent Twitter user Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), called out Musk for trying to sell ‘free speech’ with the blue check charge – leading Musk to retort: ‘Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8.’
AOC, 33, isn’t shy when it comes to making her opinions known on SpaceX founder, and on Tuesday evening she called out Musk over the proposal.
‘Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that “free speech” is actually an $8/[month] subscription plan,’ she wrote.
A blue tick badge allows other Twitter users to verify that other users are who they say they are.
He originally suggested $20 a month for verification but appeared to lower the cost after an exchange earlier this week with horror writer Stephen King, where he offered him a discount.
‘$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*** that, they should pay me,’ wrote King, who has 6.9 million followers. ‘If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.’
But Musk, noticing the author’s complaints, seemed to be in the mood to haggle.
‘We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?’ he replied.
King isn’t the only blue-tick Twitter user to threaten to abandon their check marks if a charge is introduced to the platform.
Actress, writer and comedian Kathy Burke also said she wouldn’t pay.
‘Musk can f*** off with his idea of charging blue-tickers. I give my all to this hell site for FREE. Cheeky b**** should be paying ME. Don’t need the poxy thing anyway.’
Celebrities who have threatened to boycott the site include TV screenwriter Shonda Rhimes, actor Mia Farrow, as well as Madam Secretary star Téa Leoni, She Hulk actor Jameela Jamil, as well as authors and activists Shaun King and Amy Siskind.
The 3,700 cuts now being touted would amount to about half the staff, and would see them follow out five high-level executives who have resigned in the past week.
Since acquiring the San Francisco-based social media company for $44 billion, Musk has been looking for ways to drive down costs and increase revenue.
Musk’s touted move has been criticized by some, who say key users of the platform create the content that gives it value. Others have said previous attempts by companies to monetize something previously free have seldom been successful.