Twitter may have lost more than a million users since Elon Musk took over


From October 27th to November 1st, Bot Sentinel found that 11,535 accounts they monitored had been deactivated, meaning someone decided to close an account. Another 6,824 were suspended, which happens when Twitter proactively removes accounts for inactivity, inauthenticity, or violating the site’s rules. That’s about 0.59% of the accounts Bot Sentinel monitors. In the week before Musk bought Twitter, only 5,958 accounts were deactivated or suspended, suggesting a 208% increase in account losses in the days following the purchase.

“We think the increase in deactivations is the result of people being upset with Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and the decision to deactivate their accounts in protest,” says Bouzy, pointing to anecdotal evidence of people posting about leaving the site.

Manoel Ribeiro, an academic at EPFL Lausanne in Switzerland who studies niche Internet communities, including the alt-right and how they are affected by moderation policies and algorithms, agrees. “There seems to be an attempt by many to migrate to other platforms, like Mastodon,” he says.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Elon Musk did not immediately respond to an email.

Bouzy believes that the increase in the number of account suspensions is partly due to hate speech from a proportion of the user base testing what they can and cannot say on the site now that it is under the control of Musk. “We also believe that the increase in suspensions comes from Twitter taking action against accounts that deliberately violate Twitter’s rules to see if they can push the boundaries of ‘free speech,'” he says. It is unknown what proportion of those suspended by Twitter have been judged to be inauthentic (i.e. bots) rather than violating the platform’s rules on acceptable speech.



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