According to a new report from Axios, Twitter (or "X") usage has significantly dropped in the first year of Elon Musk's ownership. Downloads of the app have dropped 38% between October 2022 and September 2023 globally, while dropping 57% in the U.S. alone. Usage has also dropped, with the number of active monthly users dropping by 14.8% globally, and 17.8% in the U.S., while the average time spent with the app is also down. The number of users that have stopped using Twitter is also up by 30% over the previous year.
While these numbers paint a grim picture for Twitter, they likely won't come as a big surprise. Over the last year, Elon Musk has instituted several changes that have frustrated long-time users of the platform. The first of these was a change to the blue checks, turning it from a verification system that helped to identify celebrities, journalists, and official sources, to a sign of status that could be purchased for $8 per month. These users have also seen their replies boosted to the top of every Tweet, making it easier for spam bots and reply trolls to swarm the platform. Misinformation has since spread throughout Twitter, quickly harming the site's strength as a news source.
As a result, major advertisers have fled Twitter in droves. The site still has advertisers, but the remaining ones are on the smaller side, filling Twitter with ads for things like Blue Chew and Cheech and Chong branded THC gummies. Of course, there's also been the company's disastrous rebrand as "X," which is a name that most users don't even call the platform.
The Future of Twitter
With usage and downloads plummeting, it will be interesting to see whether Elon Musk will be able to salvage his investment. The last year has been characterized by a number of baffling decisions, including a recently announced test plan to begin charging new users a yearly fee. It seems that many users are tired of the constant changes, which are often walked back as quickly as they get announced. The platform also runs significantly worse than it did when the company had more employees, with features routinely breaking.
The fact of the matter is that Twitter now has a lot more direct competitors, and it seems a new one pops up every few months. Platforms like Threads and Hive have directly put a target on Twitter's user base, while Bluesky seems to have found some success as a Twitter alternative. It remains to be seen whether any of these platforms can truly supplant Twitter, but the new report from Axios shows just how much worse the situation is now than when Musk took ownership. It's possible the company could turn things around, but it's not hard to see why so many people are using Twitter less than they were before.
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