Why several high-profile Twitter users lost followers after Musk's buyout
The question many had after Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter was announced was: "How will the users respond to this change?" Since the news broke, the microblogging platform has received several users reports of high-profile accounts losing their followers. To make the matters more interesting, the two ends of the political spectrum, i.e. left and right, had contrasting experiences concerning their followers count.
Why does this story matter?
The Elon Musk-Twitter saga has entered its second chapter. This chapter will cover the consequences of the buyout now that it is official. As is always the case, some are happy with the new development, while some are unhappy. The change in follower count can at best be looked at as a knee-jerk reaction. Once the dust settles, things are bound to normalize.
The political left and right experience significantly different user reactions
Of the accounts that reported a loss of followers, those that stand out are the members of the political left. Washington bigwigs like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Nancy Pelosi all lost more than 10,000 followers. Members of the political right like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ted Cruz reported major gains in follower count. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gained nearly 90,000 followers.
Fluctuations in follower counts came from organic account closures: Twitter
Twitter responded to reports of follower fall-out by saying that account closures were "organic." According to Twitter, the fluctuations in numbers were largely "a result of an increase in new account creation and deactivation."
Musk's tag as a 'free-speech' absolutist is polarizing
Musk has often described himself as a "free-speech absolutist." Now that he is at the helm of Twitter, many users fear that the microblogging platform will see a rise in hate speech and disinformation. At the same time, for many, Musk's takeover of Twitter means a voice for all. A voice that will not be censored and bridled.
Even Barack Obama lost followers
Former US President Barack Obama is the most followed person on Twitter with 131.7 million followers. He lost over 300,000 followers since Monday. American pop star Katy Perry, the third most followed person on Twitter, lost more than 200,000 followers since Musk's buyout.