Mass Deactivations Have Taken Place On Twitter Following Elon Musk's Takeover
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Twitter has been facing reports of high profile accounts losing thousands of followers in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover, with the company saying the ‘fluctuations in follower counts’ stems from ‘organic’ account closures.
According to NBC, former US president Barack Obama, the most followed account on Twitter at 131.7 million followers, lost more than 300,000 followers after the news on Monday, 25 April, while singer Katy Perry, the third-most-followed, lost more than 200,000.
The outlet reports that, meanwhile, some accounts on the political right have seen their follower counts skyrocket. This includes Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had 539,000 followers the day before the Musk buyout, but had 632,000 by Tuesday evening.
Off the back of the strange pattern, Rep. Matt Gaetz – a close ally of former president Donald Trump – tweeted: “It really is something how conservative accounts are getting massive follower increases today.”
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is a right-wing populist, also gained almost 90,000 followers in the day after the announcement.
While Twitter has not provided an exact number or accounts that have been closed or activated since Monday, the company confirmed it was looking into the ‘recent fluctuations in follower counts’.
In a statement to NBC, Twitter said: "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.”
A spokesperson said the accounts experiencing the most severe drop-offs in followers were ‘high-profile accounts’.
Musk has vowed to make Twitter a home for 'free speech', while also 'defeating the spam bots'.
In the statement announcing the agreement, he said: "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.
"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."
Bret Taylor, Twitter's Independent Board Chair, said: "The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon's proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing.
"The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter's stockholders."