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Conservative Twitter accounts get a boost in followers after Musk acquisition, data shows

Conservative Twitter accounts get a boost in followers after Musk acquisition, data shows

It's not your imagination: The number of followers on Twitter has actually been increasing wildly in response to the news that Elon Musk had finalized a deal to acquire the platform.

Data compiled by The Verge from social media statistics site Social Blade shows that in the two days following the deal's completion, influential conservative accounts increased their number of followers at nearly ten times the average daily rate for the month leading up to the acquisition. have given.

Meanwhile, popular liberal accounts have collectively lost thousands of followers on April 25 and 26 after a month of gains.

Twitter's management of the platform is unlikely to be the result of a change, as the deal won't close for months and Musk hasn't had time to directly affect operations. Instead, the change appears to be an organic response to the news, with users joining or leaving the platform in anticipation of Musk's ownership.

The data provides empirical support to claims made by prominent conservatives like Donald Trump Jr., who shared screenshots from their own social media analytics that appeared to show disproportionate follower gains on April 26th.

To investigate the claims, The Verge compiled a list of 100 influential Twitter accounts, 50 each from political left and right and each with a minimum of 100,000 followers.

Using data from Social Blade, a service that provides analytics for a range of social media platforms, we pulled 30 days of historical information on the number of followers for each account and calculated the day-to-day change in absolute value. as did. One percent. change. We then calculated the mean values ​​for the percentage change in both conceptual groups. (See the full dataset and calculations on GitHub.)

Of the 50 conservative accounts in our dataset, 48 made unusually large follower gains on April 25 and 26, while only two accounts lost followers. On April 26, the conservative accounts in our dataset gained an average of 17,229 followers. The biggest beneficiary went to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who had 141,556 followers.

All 50 generous accounts in our dataset lost followers in a single two days. On April 26, on average, each account lost 6,062 followers, with the biggest loss coming from the account of Vice President Kamala Harris, whose number of followers decreased by 22,453.

Based on our limited sample, the change appears to be a net gain for Twitter in terms of users. The increase in followers for conservative accounts outpaced losses from liberal accounts by 3:1, with a net increase of 638,000 followers when the losses between April 25 and April 26 are subtracted from gains. The exact number of new accounts is difficult to estimate because there is undoubtedly significant overlap between new followers of multiple accounts in the dataset, but there is strong evidence that gains outweigh losses in accounts.

The exact reason for the dramatic change in follower count is still unclear, although Twitter told NBC News that the uptick over the same period was "the result of an increase in new account creation and inactivity." If true, this would represent a transfer of hundreds of thousands of users in a single day, which is a surprising explanation for such news.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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