In the week after Elon Musk purchased Twitter for US$44 billion, the social media platform lost more than 1.3 million users.
The firm Bot Sentinel, which tracks behaviour on Twitter by analysing more than 3.1 million accounts and their daily activity, “believes that around 877,000 accounts were deactivated and a further 497,000 were suspended between October 27 and November 1”, according to a report by the MIT Technology Review.
That is more than double the usual number, the report said.
“We have observed an uptick in people deactivating their accounts and also Twitter suspending accounts,” Christopher Bouzy, Bot Sentinel’s founder, told the outlet.
He went on to say that he and Bot Sentinel calculated the numbers by looking at the proportion of users they analyse, who had deactivated their accounts or been suspended after Musk took over, and then applying that percentage to Twitter’s overall user base, which stands at about 237 million “monetisable daily active users”.
On Monday night, Musk tweeted: “Twitter usage is at an all-time high lol.”
He then replied to his own tweet saying: “I just hope the servers don’t melt!”
From October 27 through November 1, Bot Sentinel found 11,535 accounts they were monitoring had been deactivated (someone shut down their own account), the MIT Technology Review report said.
In addition, 6,824 accounts had been suspended, which happens when Twitter removes accounts for reasons including inactivity, inauthenticity or a violation of site rules, the report said.
In the week before Musk bought Twitter, 5,958 accounts were deactivated or suspended, suggesting a more than 200 per cent increase in account losses in the days after the purchase.
“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,” Bouzy told the outlet.
In April, the world’s richest man offered to buy the social media company. Musk said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission at the time: “Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company … Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”
On October 27, he purchased the social media platform after months of fits and starts and legal wrangling.
Since then, he has laid off about half of Twitter’s employees and has acknowledged advertisers are fleeing the platform.
In addition, the company said its iconic verification system is set to turn into a subscription service: an update to Twitter’s iOS app mentions a Twitter Blue US$7.99 offering that includes the blue tick and will soon have “half the ads & much better ones”, as well as the ability to post longer videos.
An Android update is in the works, Musk said on Saturday, replying to users on Twitter. He also said it would be a “couple months” until current verified users with blue checkmarks lost their verification status.
Twitter users should expect big changes to the site as Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, seeks to boost revenue.
“Trash me all day, but it’ll cost $8,” Musk tweeted on Friday.
Musk’s Twitter bio Saturday read: “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” and his location as “Hell”. South China Morning Post