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The figures of several personalities’ Twitter followers have registered significant fluctuations since the announcement this week of the sale of the social network to billionaire Elon Musk, with clear losses for some progressive politicians, and gains for some conservatives.
According to Twitter, the changes appear to be linked to closures of accounts on the social network, which numerous users vowed to leave following its purchase by Musk, as well as the opening of new profiles.
“We have been investigating recent fluctuations in follower counts. While we continue to take action on accounts that violate our spam policy which can affect follower counts, these fluctuations appear to largely have been a result of an increase in new account creation and deactivation,” company sources explained to EFE.
Among others, the loss of followers seen by former U.S. President Barack Obama, the most followed person on Twitter, with more than 130 million users subscribed to his messages, stands out.
After gaining followers every day during the month of April, the Democratic politician lost several thousand after the sale of Twitter, according to data from the website Social Blade, which tracks the evolution of this data.
His wife, Michelle Obama, and left-wing leaders such as Senator Bernie Sanders have also registered significant losses, while numerous progressive figures and organizations have posted messages in recent days claiming to have seen a drop in their follower numbers.
Meanwhile, several accounts of right-wing personalities have gained a significant number of followers in recent days.
Among them is the case of Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had just over half a million followers and has since gained more than 100,000, or Senator Ted Cruz, who has added tens of thousands.
Some right-wing politicians in other countries have also seen significant gains, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who added nearly 90,000 followers within a day of Musk’s purchase.
“It’s really kind of (remarkable) how conservative accounts are getting massive increases in followers today…,” tweeted Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz on Tuesday.
Musk himself yesterday hit “like” on a Fox News tweet featuring Caitlyn Jenner commenting in all caps, “The left is scared to death” after the Twitter purchase.
In general, the American right has celebrated Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, which has promised that his priority will be free speech.
In recent years, Twitter has suspended numerous right-wing accounts and major conservative figures, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been banned since January 2021.
This Monday, the company accepted a $44 billion buyout offer from Musk, who already held more than 9% of the shareholding and now plans to take Twitter off the stock market.
The world’s richest man will receive $1 billion if the social network breaks the deal before the transaction closes, while he will have to pay the same amount if he does not complete the purchase, according to documents released Tuesday.
The agreement also includes certain clauses stating that the deal cannot be reversed if Twitter loses large numbers of users as a result of its controversial future owner, who is also explicitly allowed to tweet about the deal, but not to speak ill of the company or its employees.