“Is Twitter dying?” billionaire Elon Musk he thought In April, he offered to buy the social media platform five days ago.
According to an internal Twitter investigation seen by the Reuters news agency, the reality goes far beyond a few examples of celebrities ghosting their accounts. Twitter is struggling to keep its most active users, who are vital to the business, underscoring the challenge facing Tesla Inc’s CEO as he nears a deadline to close a $44 billion deal to buy the company.
These “heavy tweets” account for less than 10 percent of total monthly users, but generate 90 percent of all tweets and half of global revenue. Heavy tweets have been in an “absolute decline” since the pandemic began, with one Twitter researcher asking, “Where did the tweeters go?” wrote in an internal document called
A “heavy tweeter” is defined as someone who logs on to Twitter six or seven days a week and tweets three to four times a week, the document says.
The study also found a shift in interests among Twitter’s most active English-speaking users over the past two years, which could make the platform less attractive to advertisers.
According to the report, cryptocurrency and “not safe for work” (NSFW) content, which includes nudity and pornography, are the most growing topics of interest among English-language heavy users.
At the same time, among those users, interest in news, sports, and entertainment is decreasing. Tweets on these topics are also the most desirable for advertisers, helping Twitter build an image as the world’s “digital town square,” as Musk once called it.
Twitter declined to specify how many of its tweets were in English or how much money it made from English speakers. But demographics matter to Twitter’s business, some analysts say.
The platform generated more ad revenue from the U.S. than all other markets combined in the fourth quarter, and most ads in the U.S. are likely to target English-speaking users, Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg said in an investor letter. .
Twitter’s research looked at the number of English-language heavy tweeters who are interested in a topic, based on the accounts they follow, and how that number has changed over the past two years.
The documents say Twitter was motivated to investigate “disturbing” trends among users that may have been masked by the overall increase in daily active users and to better understand the decline in the company’s most active users. The study did not come up with any concrete conclusions as to why the platform’s heavy users have declined.
“We regularly conduct research on various trends based on what is happening around the world. Our total audience continued to grow, reaching 238 million mDAUs in Q2 2022,” a Twitter spokesperson said Monday when asked to comment on the results of an internal filing using the acronym for monetized daily active users.
“Not safe for work” content
According to the study, the number of heavy users interested in NSFW and cryptocurrency content has increased.
Twitter is one of the few leading social media platforms that allows nudity on its services, and the company estimated that adult content makes up 13 percent of Twitter, according to a separate internal slide presentation seen by Reuters. The presentation did not provide detailed information on how the figure was calculated.
Advertisers generally shy away from controversy or nudity for fear of damaging their brand. Major advertisers such as Dyson, PBS Kids and Forbes have suspended ads on Twitter due to accounts soliciting child pornography, Reuters reported in September.
In response to the September story, Twitter said it has “zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation” and is putting more resources into its work against such material.
Twitter’s most active English-speaking users are also increasingly interested in cryptocurrencies, reaching an all-time high at the end of 2021, internal documents show. But interest in the topic has waned since the fall in cryptocurrency prices in June, and the study noted that cryptocurrencies may not be a growth area in the future.
Current and former Twitter employees who spoke to Reuters said they feared Musk’s calls for less moderation of content, saying it would exacerbate the deterioration in the quality of the employees’ content.
The documents show that the topics that have traditionally made Twitter a popular platform for its millions of users are now declining among the most active English-speaking users.
Interest in world news, as well as liberal politics, spiked during major events such as the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. But the categories have lost the most Twitter users since then and show no signs of recovery. , the report said.
Twitter is also losing a “devastating” percentage of heavy users who are interested in fashion or celebrities, such as the Kardashian family. These users are likely to favor rival platforms such as Meta Platforms Inc’s Instagram and ByteDance’s TikTok, the Twitter researcher writes.
The study also expressed surprise at the decline in interest in eSports and online personalities, which had previously grown rapidly on Twitter. “Great communities are now in decline,” the report said.
“There appears to be a significant mismatch between our company values and our growth models,” said a Twitter researcher.