It’s not your imagination: The number of followers on Twitter has actually changed enormously in response to the news that Elon Musk had closed a deal to purchase the platform.
Data collected by the edge from social media statistics site Social Blade shows that in the two days since the deal was completed, influential conservative accounts increased their follower counts at about ten times the average daily rate during the month before the acquisition.
Meanwhile, popular liberal accounts have suffered, collectively losing hundreds of thousands of followers on April 25 and 26 after a month of gains.
The changes are unlikely to be the result of changes within Twitter’s management of the platform, as the deal won’t close for months and Musk hasn’t had time to directly affect operations. Instead, the changes appear to be an organic reaction to the news, with users joining or leaving the platform in anticipation of Musk’s ownership.
The data provides empirical support for claims made by prominent conservatives such as Donald Trump Jr, who shared screenshots from their own social media analytics that appeared to show disproportionate follower gains on April 26.
Using data from Social Blade, a service that provides analytics for a variety of social media platforms, we extracted 30 days of historical information on the number of followers for each account and calculated the daily change as an absolute value and a percentage. change. We then compute average values for the percentage change between both ideological groups. (Watch the full dataset and calculations on GitHub.)
Of the 50 conservative accounts in our data set, 48 made unusually large follower gains on April 25 and 26, while only two accounts lost followers. On April 26, conservative accounts in our data set averaged 17,229 followers. The biggest individual gain went to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who gained 141,556 followers.
All 50 liberal accounts in our data set lost followers in the same two days. On average, each account lost 6,062 followers on April 26, with the biggest loss coming from Vice President Kamala Harris’s account, whose number of followers dropped by 22,453.
The precise cause of the dramatic changes in follower count is still unclear, although Twitter said nbc news that the fluctuations during the same period were “the result of an increase in the creation and deactivation of new accounts”. If true, it would represent a displacement of hundreds of thousands of users in a single day, a surprising explanation for news of this type.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.