Many of Twitter’s most active users abandoned the platform in recent years and have shown no sign of coming back, according to company documents obtained by Reuters, sparking serious concerns about Twitter’s future just days before Elon Musk is slated to take control of it.
The number of “heavy tweeters,” which Twitter defines as someone who uses the platform six or seven days a week and tweets at least three times a week, has been in “absolute decline” since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an internal report viewed by Reuters.
Interest in mainstay topics popular with advertisers like sports, news and entertainment has been in decline among English-speaking frequent users, according to Reuters, while interest in cryptocurrency and pornographic “not safe for work” content has been on the rise.
“Heavy tweeters” are reportedly responsible for 90% of tweets and half of the company’s revenue, despite making up less than 10% of all monthly users.
The most significant user losses appear to be among accounts that tweeted about celebrities like the Kardashians, with the company reportedly finding a “devastating” decline in that area, possibly due to users migrating to Instagram or TikTok.
Interest in world news and liberal politics have also suffered massive declines, according to Reuters.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
“It seems as though there is a significant discrepancy between what I might imagine are our company values and our growth patterns,” a company researcher reportedly wrote.
237.8 million. That’s how many total daily active users Twitter reported in the second quarter of this year, up almost 17% from a year prior. Some 41.5 million active users were U.S.-based.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
A Delaware judge has given Musk, the world’s richest person, until Friday afternoon to close his $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter and take it private. If the deal doesn’t close by then, a lawsuit from the social media company seeking to force him to follow through with the deal will go to trial. Musk told bankers he plans to abide by the Friday deadline, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
The Washington Post reported last week that Twitter is planning massive staffing cuts due to its turbulent financial situation. The company has a reported goal of slashing $800 million in payroll by 2023, which would impact critical infrastructure such as data centers, potentially making the platform and its users more susceptible to security threats. Musk, meanwhile, has reportedly told prospective investors he’s eyeing even deeper cuts: According to the Post, he plans to eliminate about 75% of Twitter’s 7,500-person workforce if the deal closes. The billionaire also reportedly promised potential investors he will triple the number of users who see ads by the end of his third year as owner, while he’s also floated a subscription service offering users access to premium content for a fee as a way to raise revenue.
We estimate Musk to be worth $219.6 billion, making him the richest person in the world.
By Nicholas Reimann, Forbes Staff