Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is already having an impact on the social network, although technically it has not yet been completed.
Twitter loses appeal after Elon Musk’s purchase
Several major accounts have been reported to have lost hundreds of thousands of followers in recent days.
The phenomenon was not triggered when Elon Musk announced his offer, but only after it was announced that it had been accepted.
There are still no clear-cut explanations for this phenomenon, but at least two different dynamics underlying it are hypothesized.
The first hypothesis concerning the decrease of Twitter profiles
The first hypothesis suggests that the composition of Twitter‘s user base is changing.
It seems that over the years, as Elon Musk himself speculated, there has been a shift to the left of the most successful ideas on social media.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 28, 2022
Elon Musk, on the other hand, seems to be far from left-wing, and in some ways closer to some right-wing ideas, especially liberal ones.
It is possible that several users with strong left-wing ideas have decided to abandon Twitter now that it is clear that it will become Musk’s property, perhaps because of fears that the doors will be reopened to right-wing extremists.
For example, Donald Trump has been banned from Twitter for more than a year, and many fear that Musk’s new, softer course on restrictions on free speech will bring him back to the social network.
In some cases, there is also a slight increase in active users on Facebook, so it is possible that there is some kind of flight of left-wing users from Twitter to Facebook.
The second hypothesis on Twitter’s decline
Another hypothesis suggests that the phase of deactivating profiles managed by automated bots, instead of by individuals, may have already begun.
Musk had promised that one of the first things he would do would be to fight the bots that roam Twitter, often bothering users with spam and information overload.
This hypothesis would be confirmed by the fact that in the last few days human interactions on the social network have not decreased, and in particular the number of followers and average daily subscriptions to profiles.
In fact, it would be plausible that, from this point of view, the new direction imposed by Musk on Twitter might already have begun, given that the current operational management seems to be in line with the ideas of the new owner.
If this were the case, Twitter’s new direction would in fact have already begun, even though the acquisition has not yet been finalized, and this would only be the beginning.
If, on the other hand, the first hypothesis were true, then everything could go back to the way it was in a matter of days.
There is also the possibility that both are true, i.e. that the current apparent changes are caused by several competing dynamics taking place at the same time.
In reality, it is to be expected that the new trajectory will, in the long run, bring about many other changes, even of a much broader and deeper nature.
Twitter does not monetize enough
Twitter is currently generating relatively little revenue, i.e. about 5 billion dollars a year compared to Meta‘s (formerly Facebook) 118 billion dollars a year, and is not making a profit. To be able to repay the enormous debt he has taken on, Musk will need not only to increase revenue, but above all to generate a lot of profits.
In light of this, it is possible to say that we are already witnessing the beginning of this phase of change, and it is to be expected that there will be many more in the coming months.
In other words, the consequences of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could be pretty much full-scale.