What is going on with Twitter follower counts? (Progressives lose followers while conservatives gain them)

What is going on with Twitter follower counts? (Progressives lose followers while conservatives gain them)
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Yesterday, Elon Musk succeeded in buying Twitter and there were reports that the site’s code had been locked to prevent anyone making any sudden changes, possibly as some kind of protest. To me that suggested that nothing much would change between now and whenever Musk’s team comes in to start making changes. But today I noticed some people on the left complaining that they’d suddenly lost a lot of followers.

Mark Hamill, who sometimes tweets about politics, noticed it as well.

Lots of progressive accounts independently noticing that something is happening because they are suddenly losing a lot of followers. No one seems to know why. I thought it was odd because over the last 24 hours I actually gained followers. It wasn’t a lot but it was more than I’ve picked up in months. And when I mentioned this on Twitter others said they’d seen the same thing.

So at this point there seems to be a pattern forming where progressives are losing followers and some conservatives are gaining them. And then I came across these tweets which really confirmed this is not a fluke.

Here’s a blow up of recent data for Hillary Clinton’s account. She suddenly lost 17,000 followers yesterday.

Speaker Pelosi lost more than 13,000:

Meanwhile on the other side of the aisle, Ron DeSantis gained nearly 100,000.

Here’s the DeSantis page:

And Ted Cruz gained more than 50,000:

And the pattern just keeps going. Bernie Sanders lost nearly 20,000 followers yesterday. And Elizabeth Warren lost nearly 18,000:

Rachel Maddow lost nearly 19,000 but Tucker Carlson gained more than 60,000:

Christopher Bouzy says nothing like this has happened in the past four years.

So what is going on here? No one seems to know. Some are arguing that this is the result of invigorated conservatives signing back up for Twitter while discouraged progressives are heading for the exit. But if that’s so, how do you explain this?

Bolsonaro is the President of Brazil. Are Brazilians responding to the Musk Twitter news? Maybe they are but it seems harder to explain. I’m not trying to start any conspiracy theories but you have to admit it looks like someone at Twitter HQ just decided to take their finger off the scale. Whether that was an actual choice made by people running the software or just the collective impact of removing a chilling effect, something has clearly changed even though Musk hasn’t actually gained control of Twitter yet.

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