“Is Twitter Dead?” billionaire Elon Musk mused in April, five days before he offered to buy the social media platform.
The reality, according to internal Reuters Twitter research, goes well beyond the handful of examples of celebrities ghosting their own accounts. Twitter struggles to keep the most active users — vital to the company — engaged, underscoring the challenge the CEO of Tesla Inc. faces as he nears a deadline to close his $44 billion deal to buy the company.
These “heavy tweeters” account for less than 10% of total monthly users, but generate 90% of all tweets and half of global revenue. Heavy tweeters have “definitely declined” since the start of the pandemic, a Twitter researcher wrote in an internal document titled “Where have the tweeters gone?”
A “heavy tweeter” is defined as someone who logs into Twitter six or seven days a week and tweets about three to four times a week, the document said.
The research also found a shift in interests over the past two years among Twitter’s most active English-speaking users, which could make the platform less attractive to advertisers.
Cryptocurrency and “not safe for work” (NSFW) content, including nudity and pornography, are the most growing areas of interest among English-speaking heavy users, the report finds.
At the same time, interest in news, sports and entertainment among those users is declining. Tweets on those topics, which have helped Twitter polish an image as the world’s “digital city square,” as Musk once called it, are also the most desirable for advertisers.
Twitter declined to say how many of its tweets are in English or how much money it makes from English speakers. But demographics are important to Twitter’s business, some analysts say.
The platform earned more ad revenue from the United States in the fourth quarter alone than all other markets combined, according to the investor letter, and most advertising in the United States is likely targeting English-speaking users, said Jasmine Enberg, an analyst with Insider. . Intelligence.
Twitter’s research examined the number of heavy tweeters in English who expressed interest in a topic, based on the accounts they followed, and how that number of users changed over the past two years.
Twitter was motivated to examine “disturbing” trends among users that may have been masked by the overall growth of daily active users and to better understand the decline of the company’s most active users, the documents said. The study did not draw any specific conclusions about why heavy users are declining from the platform.
Asked to comment on the findings of the internal documents, a Twitter spokesperson said Monday: “We regularly investigate a wide range of trends, evolving based on what’s happening in the world. Our overall audience has continued to grow. and reached 238 million mDAU in Q2 2022,” the spokesperson said, using an acronym for revenue-generating daily active users.
Content ‘Not safe for work’
The number of heavy users interested in NSFW and cryptocurrency content grew, the survey found.
Twitter is one of the few major social media platforms to allow nudity on its service, and the company estimates that adult content makes up 13% of Twitter, according to a separate internal slideshow seen by Reuters. The presentation did not discuss the calculation of the grade.
Advertisers generally avoid controversy or nudity for fear of damaging their brands. Major advertisers, including Dyson, PBS Kids and Forbes, are suspending ads because of accounts requesting child porn on Twitter, Reuters reported in September.
In response to the September story, Twitter said it has “no tolerance whatsoever for child sexual exploitation” and is investing more resources in its work against such material.
Twitter’s most active English-speaking users were also increasingly interested in cryptocurrencies, reaching an all-time high in late 2021, the internal documents revealed. But interest in the topic has waned since the crypto price crash in June, and the study found that cryptocurrencies may not be a growth area in the future.
Current and former Twitter employees who spoke to Reuters said they were concerned about Musk’s calls for less content moderation and his reported plans to discourage staffing, which they believe will exacerbate the deterioration in content quality.
Topics that have historically made Twitter a popular platform for its millions of users are now declining among the most active English-speaking users, the documents show.
Interest in world news, as well as liberal politics, peaked during major events such as the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But the categories have since lost the largest number of heavy Twitter users and show no signs of recovery, it said. the report.
Twitter is also losing a “devastating” percentage of heavy users interested in fashion or celebrities like the Kardashian family. These users are likely moving to rival platforms such as Instagram from Meta Platforms Inc and TikTok from ByteDance, a Twitter researcher wrote.
The study also expressed surprise at the declining interest in esports and online streaming personalities, which previously grew rapidly on Twitter. “The major communities are now in decline,” the report said.
“It appears that there is a significant discrepancy between what I might envision as our corporate values and our growth patterns,” wrote one Twitter researcher.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)