Who are the winners and losers of Elon’s Twitter takeover? JK Rowling ADDS followers for the first time in 11 days as conservatives get an ‘organic’ post-Musk bump… while top Wokerati like Jameela Jamil bleed fans after threats to boycott
- Conservative figures in US saw their follower counts go up shortly after Musk’s successful bid on Monday
- In contrast, left-wing Democrats, like the congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have experienced falls
- The same dynamic is occuring in the UK – prompting theories Twitter’s algorithm could have been tweaked
- But online expert suggested change is due to people joining or leaving Twitter based on their view of Musk
- Social media giant has also insisted the changes are ‘organic’ rather than a result of any changes on its part
Elon Musk‘s takeover of Twitter appears to have led to a split in users’ fortunes along ideological lines – with conservative figures gaining followers while leading ‘Wokerati’ go in the opposite direction.
The Tesla founder’s $44billion bid was unanimously accepted by Twitter’s board on Monday. Shortly afterwards, prominent American right-wingers, such as Donald Trump‘s son, Don Jr, saw their follower counts shoot up while Democrats, like the congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, suffered falls.
The same dynamic is occuring in the UK, with statistics from Social Blade showing Nigel Farage added 3,912 followers yesterday as he enjoyed his most successful period for at least two weeks – while left-wing talking heads James O’Brien and Owen Jones lost 241 and 546 each.
JK Rowling, despite being a critic of the Conservative party, has become unpopular with many left-wing Twitterati due to her stance on gender issues. Yesterday, she saw her followers increase for the first time in weeks.
Meanwhile, Harry Potter star Emma Watson appeared to be losing her magic touch – down 5,168 yesterday – while former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn shed 850 followers and Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, 146. Actress Jameela Jamil, who has threatened to leave Twitter over Musk’s takeover, lost 615.
The picture was far rosier for right-wing figures, with journalists Douglas Murray, Fraser Nelson, Toby Young and Julia Hartley-Brewer seeing their follower counts rise 4,784, 24, 286 and 655 consecutively.
The number of Twitter followers gained or lost by right- (top) and left-wing (bottom) figures yesterday following Elon Musk’s takeover on Monday
The fluctuation in follower numbers in the US triggered a wave of theories seeking to explain the phenomenon.
Some suggested ‘free speech absolutist’ Musk’s takeover prompted developers to change the social media giant’s algorithm to highlight conservative accounts and suppress left-leaning ones – a theory that was slapped down by people who pointed out that Musk will not officially complete his purchase of the platform for months.
Others argued ‘woke’ Twitter programmers, who have been accused of silencing right-wing voices by suspending or banning controversial accounts whose views they disagree with, had adjuged the algorithm to be more balanced in an attempt to cover up their previous biases.
But Twitter blocked its staff from making programming changes to the app to prevent it being sabotaged, suggested that theory was off the mark.
Today, Carrie-Ann Sudlow, a digital marketeer and social media expert, insisted the changes were not the result of ‘an algorithm issue or a conspiracy’.
‘When something like this happens in the world, the influencers like Nigel Farage have an opinion on it, and it’s either popular or not popular and that leads to them gaining or losing followers,’ she told MailOnline.
‘This is a big takeover from a very influential man. With influence comes strong opinions. Elon fans seem to be for or against with few sitting on the fence.
‘He’s making a big impact on all areas of the world, his sceptics will not want to fund him so leave Twitter. His supporters will rejoice and jump on the back of the news hence gaining followers.’
JK Rowling, despite being a critic of the Conservative party, has become unpopular with many left-wing Twitterati due to her stance of gender issues. On Wednesday, she saw her followers increase for the first time in weeks, although she is still down since Musk’s takeover – perhaps due to followers leaving her over a string of controversial tweets.
Nigel Farage added 3,912 followers yesterday as he enjoyed his most successful period for at least two weeks
In contrast, left-wing talking heads such as James O’Brien (pictured) and Owen Jones lost 241 and 546 each
Actress Jameela Jamil – who threatened to leave Twitter over Musk’s takeover – has been shedding followers in recent days
Conservative talk show host Julia Hartley-Brewer gained 665 followers yesterday in what is proving to be a successful week
Twitter has also insisted the changes are ‘organic’ rather than a result of any changes on its part.
‘While we continue to take action on accounts that violate our spam policy which can affect follower counts, these fluctuations appear to largely be a result of an increase in new account creation and deactivation,’ a spokesman said.
In the US, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump Jr. and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – three of America’s most forthright conservative mouthpieces – have experienced an influx of 175,960, 301,570 and 286,559 followers respectively since the news of Musk’s takeover broke on Monday.
Meanwhile on the left, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Hillary Clinton and Ellen DeGeneres have witnessed an exodus of 26,072, 21,424 and 27,141 Twitter followers in the past four days.
Donald Trump Jr and Florida governor Ron De Santis – both prominent right-wing figures – have enjoyed a boost in followers in recent days