The same day Elon Musk announced he had reached an agreement with Twitter to purchase the company for $44 billion, conservative users reported they began seeing large increases in their follower counts and engagement.
One of the most significant factors motivating Musk’s purchase of Twitter was his concern over censorship and speech suppression on the platform. Throughout the last two weeks as he’s pressed his bid to purchase the company, he’s indicated that that one of his top priorities will be reversing heavy-handed content-moderation policies and lifting algorithms that may be unfairly targeting some tweets and accounts based on their political views.
Shifts on Twitter from Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning suggest that now that the Tesla CEO has a formal deal with Twitter, the social media giant may have already begun taking steps to address these concerns behind the scenes. “Anyone else feel like the algorithm that suppressed accounts/speech that Twitter didn’t like got removed today,” comedian and conservative columnist Tim Young asked,
According to Christopher Bouzy, founder of the social media analytics platform Bot Sentinel, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis gained nearly 100,000 followers following Musk’s announcement. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) were both up more than 50,000.
“I can understand Left-leaning accounts deciding to close their accounts after the Elon Musk news, but why the sudden significant increase in Republican followers? This is not normal,” Bouzy said, later adding, “I really would like a Twitter spokesperson to explain this.”
Other popular accounts from the right side of the political spectrum also anecdotally reported a huge increase in their followership. Conservative rapper Zuby said he gained 11,000 followers in less than 24 hours and that his posts are experiencing a much higher degree of engagement. “It’s been a LONG TIME since one of my tweets was ‘allowed’ to reach 100k likes. My account has been throttled for 2 years,” he said.
Conversely, accounts of many known liberals began experiencing a massive loss of followers. Star Wars actor Mark Hamill reported a drop of 8,000 after Twitter and Musk reached an agreement. Biden advisor Neera Tanden said she lost 2,000.
Bouzy’s statistical analysis shows the accounts of a number of high-profile Democrat leaders began shrinking as well. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lost 13,000 followers, while Senators Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren were down 11,000 and 17,000, respectively.
The disparity also carried over into the media sphere with Fox News personalities gaining followers while MSNBC anchors lost them.
Bot Sentinel monitors more than 2.5 million Twitter accounts, and Bouzy says his system checks the status of each one every day at 12 a.m. eastern. He told The Daily Wire they’re now analyzing DeSantis’ newly acquired followers to try to determine what the cause of the enormous shifts might be. “It’s not something we have seen before,” he said.
The Daily Wire reached to Twitter to ask about the cause of the massive swings in followers and engagement and did not receive a response.