Top influencers on the platform say Musk is making Twitter worse
Since Elon Musk took over Twitter in October, some of its most active and popular users say they’ve seen disruptions as a result of the changes introduced by the new CEO.
Six Twitter users with follower numbers from more than 100,000 to several million said they’ve experienced new types of technical glitches since Musk’s layoff. Half of the company’s staff. Among the other issues they identified after Musk’s controversial moves were what was conceived Speak out against transgender people Intermittent loss of followers.
For users with a lot of followers, Twitter has been a place to connect with professionals in their chosen fields, build successful businesses and share breaking news. Under Musk’s rule, many have become frustrated.
Jenn Takahashi created and runs the viral “Best of Nextdoor” account, known for posting funny posts from the neighborhood watch app. In October, she said, the account had reached 550,000 followers on Twitter. Since Musk’s takeover and resulting policy changes and layoffs, the account has lost more than 13,000 followers — an unusual drop for an account that’s been growing steadily. Musk has declared that he wants to “defeat the bots” on the platform, which may explain the loss of some followers, but Takahashi suspects thousands of people have deactivated their accounts since the troubled takeover.
“Once Elon entered Twitter HQ with this tub, I think I lost 400 followers in an hour,” Takahashi said, referring to Strange Musk Entrance to the company. Similarly, after Musk suspended journalists and reinstated Donald Trump’s account, Takahashi said, “I noticed users leaving in droves.” Data provided by analytics firm Sensor Tower show up App installs increased 16% in Musk’s first month over the previous month but decreased 3% year-over-year.
Matt Nelson, who runs the “We Rate Dogs” Twitter account and has 9.3 million followers, said he also noticed a drop in follower count after polling Musk on whether he should step down as CEO (the poll results favored him leaving). It announced that linking to competing social media platforms would not be allowed on Twitter (it reversed the decision). According to Social Blade, an analytics company that tracks follower count on social media platforms, “We Rate Dogs” lost more than 10,000 followers in the weeks after Musk’s acquisition. This was the first time the account lost a significant number of followers in 2022, according to Social Blade.
In terms of technical glitches, Takahashi and Nilsson said their accounts frequently show the “Rate limit exceeded” error message when they try to update their notifications, which they said they haven’t seen happen before Musk’s tenure. The error message only affected their high-followed accounts.
Both also said the Verified Notifications tab, which now shows notifications from both legacy verified accounts (accounts that were verified before Musk’s acquisition, when verification was decided upon by Twitter) and paid blue checkmarks (a feature introduced by Musk for a monthly subscription fee), it has become less useful under the pay-to-play system.
“An account of our size, we check every mention, but we’re a little bit forced to prioritize people who also have a following, as there might be a common fan base out there,” Nelson said.
Prior to Musk’s arrival, Nelson said, he reached out to the Twitter staff, who interacted with top creators to share new features and gain insight. Teams that have worked with their creators and advertisers missing employees and leadership since Musk seized power. Nelson said he hasn’t spoken to anyone on Twitter since.
Even the conservative influencers with whom Musk interacts have complained about the platform under his helm — “catturd2,” a right-wing account with 1.2 million followers, tweeted on Tuesday that Twitter was “throttling the conservative hell again.” The account did not respond to a request for comment.
Notable Twitter users said they’ve also noticed a drop in the quality of speech on the platform, including more hate messages in direct messages and replies.
Clara Sorrente, also known by her handle “Kevals,” said she’s noticed that accounts that respond to her with transphobic rhetoric get suspended more slowly. Sorrenti, who is transgender with 150,000 followers on Twitter, said users who misrepresent her gender or use her dead name (her name before her transition) used to be suspended for violating Twitter’s policies on hate speech. In the past month, Sorrenti said, she’s noticed fewer of those accounts being disciplined.
“Transphobia is getting worse on the platform,” Sorrenti said, adding that Musk himself has tweeted that people should not be forced to use preferred pronouns and has addressed “Libs of TikTok” and other anti-LGBTQ personalities. Musk used his Twitter account, which has 124 million followers, to share his views and dictate Twitter’s new policy, such as when he tweeted that sharing a user’s real-time location is considered “doxxing” and is no longer allowed.
“It’s very confusing to me as to what his personal opinion is and what Twitter’s policy is, because he announces everything through his personal account,” Sorrenti said.
Queer Twitter figures said harassment based on gender, sexuality, and race continued long before Musk became CEO, but noted that his apparent affinity for conservative influencers has been accompanied by an outpouring of intolerant responses and direct messages.
Since the Musk acquisition, Takahashi has started a new account called “Best of Dying Twitter,” which has amassed 65,000 followers in two months. It indexes tweets from and about Musk, including deactivation reporting to Twitter employees, suspended accounts reinstated by Musk and key moments on Musk’s Twitter.
People who stay on Twitter “want to watch the show” that is unfolding under Musk, Takahashi said. But her documentation of the past two months has also led to an increase in harassment, she said.
Takahashi shared a screenshot of a direct message request she received, linking her and other accounts that criticized Musk with pedophilia. Twitter has witnessed, along with other social media platforms, such as Reddit For many months In rhetoric that wrongly associates the LGBTQ community with pedophilia and “caretaking” of children.
“I never get this many trolls in my replies and direct messages,” Takahashi said. “I have been called upon by things that have never been called in my life.”
Twitter is just one of the platforms that some users with a high following, like Nelson and Sorrenti, use. Sorrenti said she tends to tweet, reply to friends, and log off right afterward, because for her, the platform isn’t fun at the moment. However, she continues to use it because it helps direct people to her Twitch account.
Brand has posted “We Rate Dogs” to other platforms, including Instagram and TikTok, and while Nelson said the Twitter meme format works better for its content, he believes an adaptation to other social media sites is possible. He started the Top Five Dogs of the Week TikTok video series, which has garnered a growing number of TikTok followers.
“I think we’re ingrained enough in internet culture that when people see us elsewhere, they’re willing to follow, they’re willing to share,” Nelson said. “We have our eggs in multiple baskets, not just Twitter. But it’s where it works best, and we’re forced to adapt.”