Users often sign out of social media services only to log back in again. Mark Twain said about his smoking habits that “giving up is the easiest thing in this world.” It’s something I have done thousands of times.
Social media users return most of the time, much like Twain who was famous for lighting up again. It could have been different with Twitter. Bot Sentienel data, which monitors inauthentic activity on Twitter, shows that around 877,000 accounts have been deactivated and an additional 497,000 were temporarily suspended from October 27 to November 1 after Elon Musk, a tech entrepreneur, took over the company.
According to reports, this was twice as many as the average number.
While every social media platform’s user base is subject to fluctuations, it is alarming that over a million accounts were lost or suspended in four days. It could be said that Twitter has 275M users. However, the number is only a small percentage of that total. Charles King of Pund IT, a technology analyst and consultant stated that this can seem like a minor issue.
Musk effectively dismissed half of the employees before Musk started the mass exodus. In response, more users might leave. Yet, this isn’t the first time that Twitter has seen a mass exit of its users – and many supporters of former President Donald Trump signed off after he was suspended from the service following the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. There are numerous other users that have left the service, or have threatened to do so.
“We could see a significant number jump ship as there is an increase in ‘hate speech’’ on the platform,” explained social media analyst and brand marketing expert Scott Steinberg. Twitter lost its entire team that was responsible for fighting misinformation and disinformation with the huge layoffs Friday. The exodus could continue into the new year, as well.
It isn’t clear if Trump’s supporters – many of whom have gone to services such as Parler or Trump’s own Truth Social – will return to Twitter. The future of those who are leaving is just as uncertain.
Steinberg said that many of these people could filter to Instagram and TikTok, which could lead to a resurgence in Facebook. As activists and outspoken people own social media platforms, it will become more divided. People will choose services that are aligned with their beliefs and opinions, though there is only so many that can do the same thing as Twitter.
Without alternatives, many users – especially those with large followings – might even return post-midterms. Twitter’s vast reach might allow many users, even those who don’t like the new direction of Twitter to still make their point heard by an enormous audience.
What Does Twitter Loss of Users Signify?
Twitter is not only asking what users will do without Twitter but also how they will respond to losing high-profile people.
Steinberg said that you could witness a loss of advertisers not just due to users being lost but also because of Musk’s specific views. He is, of course, still the richest person in the world and might see it as just a drop in his bucket.
Musk didn’t buy Twitter to lose money, however – as noted by his desire to increase revenue by charging for the coveted blue checkmarks that come with verified accounts. Musk and the bottom line are not going to benefit from losing advertisers.
Twitter’s advertisers are closely monitoring the process to decide if or not to become associated with Elon Musk and his history of unpredictable behavior and controversial remarks. King stated that high-profile advertisers like General Mills General Motors and Pfizer have all left.
Recall that Twitter users can be anything, but not equal. Their value cannot be underestimated.
“So-called ‘super users’ – mostly celebrities, sports stars, and other well-known figures with massive numbers of followers – account for a large portion of tweets, retweets, and favorites that advertisers love,” King noted. Musk’s original mistakes like suggesting verify account holders would pay $20 per year were met with dismay by these vital users. Musk and Twitter are in serious trouble if the super users quit or significantly reduce their activities.
Musk “cleared house” by firing half his workforce. Musk’s goal was to make Twitter more efficient.
Steinberg said that there has been a lot of explosive growth in tech companies and others have grown too quickly. “There could be some benefit from cutting the headcount, and it may even increase the company’s profitability – but misinformation and disinformation will remain a problem if it lacks the staff to confront it. Twitter must be asked what it’s sacrificing, and if this is beneficial for the rest of us.