OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Changes and policies that Twitter boss Elon Musk is implementing on his platform are beginning to produce substantial changes in the way users interact, according to a new analysis.
And the changes are producing some negative efforts for some of Twitter’s most left-wing political voices, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, among other Democrats.
As Musk brings back a wave of banned and suspended users and accounts, analysts have noted there has been a shift in followers; notably, conservative figures are seeing theirs increase while leftist figures are losing them, the Washington Post has found.
“High-profile Republican members of Congress gained tens of thousands of Twitter followers in the first few weeks of Elon Musk’s reign over the social media network, while their Democratic counterparts experienced a decline,” the outlet reported on Monday.
“Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) all lost about 100,000 Twitter followers in the first three weeks of Musk’s ownership of Twitter, while Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) gained more than 300,000 each,” the report continued.
The paper admitted that it is sometimes difficult to understand follower patterns, but “the pattern suggests that tens of thousands of liberals may be leaving the site while conservatives are joining or becoming more active, shifting the demographics of the site under Musk’s ownership,” the Post said.
According to the analysis, on average, Republicans have gained about 8,000 followers while Democrats have lost around 4,000. The Post utilized ProPublica’s “Represent” tool, “which tracks congressional Twitter activity,” the outlet noted.
In the weeks since Musk acquired Twitter in a $44 billion deal, he has fired or dismissed about half of the company’s staff and has steadily begun to reinstate several previously banned accounts, most famously that of former President Donald Trump, who has yet to post. Trump has said he will remain on his own social media platform, Truth Social.
Late last week, comedian Tim Young shared a story from the site American Greatness that reported left-wing responses to Musk’s reinstatement of Trump, adding: “It’s been a week since @elonmusk brought Trump back… and without him even tweeting once… The left can’t handle it.”
Musk responded: “I’m fine with Trump not tweeting. The important thing is that Twitter correct a grave mistake in banning his account, despite no violation of the law or terms of service. Deplatforming a sitting President undermined public trust in Twitter for half of America.”
I’m fine with Trump not tweeting. The important thing is that Twitter correct a grave mistake in banning his account, despite no violation of the law or terms of service.
Deplatforming a sitting President undermined public trust in Twitter for half of America.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2022
“As a reminder, I was a significant supporter of the Obama-Biden presidency and (reluctantly) voted for Biden over Trump,” Musk continued.
“But freedom of speech is the bedrock of a strong democracy and must take precedence. My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist. I had hoped that would the case for the Biden administration, but have been disappointed so far,” he said.
Then, a Twitter user asked Musk, “Would you support Ron DeSantis in 2024, Elon?” — to which he responded, “Yes.”
But freedom of speech is the bedrock of a strong democracy and must take precedence.
My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist. I had hoped that would the case for the Biden administration, but have been disappointed so far.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 26, 2022
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 26, 2022
“But Twitter as a platform must be fair to all,” he added.
Musk reinstated Trump after conducting a poll on the platform; roughly 52 percent of the millions who responded supported bringing the former president back.
“He did put up a poll and I hear it is very overwhelming, very strong, but I have something called … If you look it is Trump owned, but it’s really fantastic, Truth Social and Truth Social is through the roof. It’s doing phenomenally well,” Trump said in response to the survey during a virtual appearance at the annual Republican Jewish Coalition Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month.
“The press hates to talk about it, but it’s doing phenomenally well. I think engagement is much better than is with Twitter and it’s taking care of voices that really want to be taken care of, and really smart voices, brilliant voices. Voices that in many cases are both sides. But I can tell you, there’s a lot of voice for Israel lot of power for Israel in Truth Social, so Truth Social has been very, very powerful, very, very strong and I’ll be staying there, but I heard we’re getting a big vote to go back on Twitter. I don’t see it because I don’t see a reason for it,” Trump added.
“They have a lot of problems at Twitter. You see what’s going on, it may make it. It may not make it, but the problems are incredible, the engagements are negative, and you have a lot of bots, and you have a lot of fake accounts, which I think they should get on. But Truth Social has taken the place for a lot of people and I, don’t see them going back onto Twitter,” he noted.