Billionaire Elon Musk wondered in April, five days before putting in a bid to purchase the social networking site, “Is Twitter dying?”
The truth extends far beyond the few instances of celebrities ghosting their own accounts, according to internal Twitter data seen by Reuters.
Twitter is having trouble retaining its most active users, who are crucial to the company. This highlights a problem for Tesla’s CEO as he works to complete his $44 billion acquisition transaction.
Less than 10% of monthly active users are “heavy tweeters,” but they produce 90% of all tweets and 50% of global income. In an internal paper titled “Where did the Tweeters Go,” a Twitter researcher claimed that heavy tweeters have been in “total decline” since the pandemic started.
According to the document, a “heavy tweeter” is someone who logs into Twitter six or seven days a week and tweets roughly three to four times per week.
The most active English-speaking Twitter users’ interests have changed over the past two years, according to the study, which may make the site less appealing to marketers.
The survey revealed that among English-speaking heavy users, interest in cryptocurrency and “not safe for work” (NSFW) content, which includes nudity and pornography, is expanding at the fastest rate.
At the same time, those consumers’ interest in news, sports, and entertainment is dwindling. Tweets about those subjects are the most appealing to advertisers, contributing to Twitter’s reputation as the world’s “digital town square,” as Musk famously put it.
Twitter declined to disclose the percentage of tweets that are in English or the revenue generated by English-speaking users. However, other observers assert that the demography is crucial to Twitter’s operations.
According to the platform’s investor letter, the United States accounted for more of the platform’s ad revenue in the fourth quarter than all other markets combined. The majority of ads in the United States are probably directed at English-speaking users, according to Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg.
According to the accounts they followed, Twitter’s study looked at how many users were frequent heavy tweeters in English and how that number had changed over the previous two years.
In order to better understand the reduction in the company’s most active users, Twitter was driven to look into “disturbing” user trends that may have been concealed by overall rise in daily active users, according to the documents. The survey drew no particular conclusions regarding the reasons for the platform’s diminishing heavy users.
When questioned about the conclusions of the internal documents, a Twitter representative responded on Monday: “We regularly carry out research on a broad range of trends, which change depending on what’s going on in the outside world. Our total audience has been expanding, reaching 238 million monthly active users (mDAU) in Q2 2022 “Using an abbreviation for monetizable daily active users, the representative stated.
‘NOT SAFE FOR WORK’ CONTENT
The study discovered a rise in the quantity of heavy users interested in NSFW and bitcoin content.
According to a separate internal slide presentation obtained by Reuters, Twitter estimates that adult content makes up 13% of its service and is one of the few major social media sites to accept nudity. The method used to calculate the figure was not explained in the presentation.
Generally speaking, advertisers avoid controversies or nudity out of concern for their businesses. According to Reuters, major marketers Dyson, PBS Kids, and Forbes suspended their advertising owing to accounts that were promoting child pornography on Twitter.
Twitter stated that it “has zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation” in reaction to the September report and that it was devoting additional resources to the fight against such content.
The confidential documents revealed that interest in cryptocurrency among Twitter’s most active English-speaking users increased over time, peaking in late 2021. However, after the June crypto price drop, interest in the topic has decreased, and the study concluded that cryptocurrencies might not be a future growth industry.
Speaking to Reuters, current and former Twitter employees expressed their fear that Musk’s calls for less content filtering and his rumored plans to lay off people will worsen the decline in content quality.
The documents reveal that the subjects that have historically made Twitter a popular platform for its millions of users are currently declining among the most active English-speaking users.
During significant events like the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, interest in foreign news and liberal politics peaked. The report added that since then, the categories have lost the greatest amount of frequent Twitter users and have not recovered.
Additionally, a “devastating” portion of Twitter’s regular users who follow celebrities like the Kardashians or are interested in fashion are leaving the platform. According to a Twitter researcher, these users are probably migrating to rival apps like ByteDance’s TikTok and Instagram from Meta Platform.
In addition, the study expressed astonishment at the drop in Twitter activity for e-sports and online streaming personalities, which had previously been expanding rapidly. The report claimed that “the large communities are currently in decline.”
One Twitter researcher stated, “It seems as though there is a substantial gap between what I may believe are our company values and our growth patterns.”