March 31, 2023

Yes, people are losing followers on Twitter, but it’s ‘organic’

Rich guy Elon Musk has only “owned” Twitter for a day (technically, the transaction hasn’t been finalized yet), but users are already seeing changes on the platform.

Most notably, numerous users have seen big, sudden changes in their follower counts. According to NBC News, singer Katy Perry lost more than 200,000 followers after the announcement that Musk is taking over Twitter, and former President Barack Obama lost more than 300,000 followers. Actor Mark Hamill tweeted about it on Tuesday.

On the flip side, it appears that right-wing leaning politicians, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and President of Brasil Jair Bolsonaro, are seeing follower increases.

This, of course, prompted numerous theories on why this is happening, from Twitter banning bot accounts (meaning fake, automated accounts created to bolster someone’s follower count), to the mysterious “shadow ban” rules being changed (the theory is that Twitter is secretly suppressing certain accounts to make them less popular). According to Twitter, however, none of these are true.

“While we continue to take action on accounts that violate our spam policy which can affect follower counts, these fluctuations appear to largely be a result of an increase in new account creation and deactivation,” Twitter told NBC news.

This could be interpreted as people leaning left on the political spectrum leaving the platform, while people leaning right joining (or re-joining) Twitter, which reflects on follower counts, especially those of high-profile accounts (for the record, I personally haven’t seen a significant change in my follower count).

Twitter did not disclose any exact numbers to help explain what’s happening, but the company did tell NBC it’s looking into the issue.