Fewer People Using Twitter After Musk Takeover – Report

A rare insight into the fortunes of Elon Musk’s X platform (formerly Twitter) may have been offered by two research firms.

NBC News reported on a research report from San Francisco-based Sensor Tower, which revealed that in February 2024, X had 27 million daily active users of its mobile app in the US, down 18 percent from a year earlier.

The Sensor Tower data revealed that the US user base has been flat or down every month since November 2022 (the first full month of Musk’s owning the app).

And in total the US user numbers are down 23 percent since that time, Sensor Tower reportedly said.

Image credit: X

User decline?

NBC News reported, citing the Sensor Tower research, that X’ numbers were nearly as bad worldwide, as daily active users on the mobile app fell to 174 million in February, down 15 percent from a year earlier.

It should be noted that the Sensor Tower research does not include desktop or web access of X.

This was despite other social media apps growing modestly worldwide, but in the US all platforms experienced declines over that period, but none was as steep as the decline on X.

X had “the most material decline in active users compared to its peers,” Abe Yousef, a senior insights analyst at Sensor Tower, was quoted as writing in the research report.

“This decline in X mobile app active users may have been driven by user frustration over flagrant content, general platform technical issues, and the growing threat of short-form video platforms,” he reportedly wrote.

Content moderation

It comes after X, under Elon Musk, has relaxed its content moderation rules that previously limited hateful content.

Elon Musk recently cancelled the contract of former CNN anchor Don Lemon to host a talk show on X, after he was challenged by Lemon over the platform’s content moderation practices during an interview.

Musk accused Dom Lemon of loving censorship when he was questioned about keeping up several antisemitic and racist posts on the platform.

Lemon replied that he believed in moderation, to which Musk replied: “Moderation is a propaganda word for censorship.”

Musk has also has welcomed back to the platform some users whom the previous Twitter management had banned. In December for example, he reinstated the accounts of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

X response

Elon Musk’s X has not responded to this NBC News report or the research data, but on Monday the platform tweeted that the worldwide number is higher than what Sensor Tower data shows, with 250 million people using X every day globally.

That would still be a decrease from the stated 258 million users when Musk bought the app.

X didn’t respond to a request for additional information, NBC News reported.

X also said that 550 million people visit the global town square every month.

Advertising hit

Sensor Tower also reportedly said that advertisers have also left X, with 75 out of the top 100 US advertisers on X from October 2022 having ceased ad spending on it.

The exodus reportedly spiked toward the end of last year, after Musk publicly embraced an antisemitic conspiracy theory and then shocked everyone when he told advertisers at a conference in New York, “Go f— yourself.

Musk has recently urged his 177 million followers on X to get more people onto the platform.

On Sunday, Musk tweeted an encouragement for users to share X posts with friends, as “some people still believe the legacy media!”

Threads downloads

Meanwhile the NBC News report also cited research from Boston-based Apptopia that reportedly showed that due to the tight integration of Meta’s Twitter rival Threads with Instagram, Threads beat X in downloads worldwide by an 8-to-1 ratio in February.

Threads. Image credit: Meta Platforms

Downloads were even more lopsided in the US in February, with Threads getting about 16 downloads for every one download of X, Apptopia reportedly said.

“For microblogging platforms, X had dominant market share of app downloads right up until Threads launched,” Tom Grant, vice president of research at Apptopia, reportedly wrote in an email. “That turned market share completely on its head.”

It remains to be seen whether Threads can turn these downloads into actual regular users.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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