Social Media - 29 de julio de 2023

Elon Reports Record-High Monthly Active Usage of X, Amid Rising Competition from Threads

X/Twitter may have just reached a new user high, with owner Elon Musk sharing this chart of the app’s monthly users.

Yeah, there’s not a lot of detail to go on, as Musk has intentionally left off the X axis (ironic). But according to Elon at least, X is thriving, despite rising competition, and reports of a broader user exodus, as Musk continues to re-shape the platform formerly known as Twitter into his vision for an ‘everything app’.

Which, of course, now includes a full re-brand, with all the ‘Twitter’ and bird references steadily being removed from the platform. The latest on this front is that the X icon is now appearing for some users on mobile, which is a significant step in the reformation of the app, and the realignment towards Elon’s new offering.

Like it or not, X is coming, and while most reportage has suggested that interest in the app is taking a hit as a result, Musk’s data suggests that this is not actually the case, with more people seemingly logging in to check out the latest updates.

Though at the same time, Elon’s actually developing a pretty clear pattern for how he responds to negative news cycles about the app.

Back in November, after his initial takeover of Twitter, many analysts questioned how cutting 80% of the company’s staff would impact usage. Musk responded by declaring that user numbers had ‘increased significantly around the world since the deal was announced’.

Shortly after this, Elon told then-Twitter staff that the company could slide into bankruptcy due to the state of its overall performance, which triggered another flood of negative reports about the app.

Musk’s response:

New user sign-ups reached an all-time high, part of another round of positive usage indicators shared by Elon and Co.

The same pattern was evident again earlier this month, following the launch of Meta’s Twitter clone app Threads.

Amid the early hype, which saw 100 million people signing up within days of the launch, Musk shared this:

And now, with the platform in the midst of a sudden re-brand, and Threads reportedly seeing more engagement as a result (note: Threads also added a ‘Following’ feed this week), Musk has again come out with some new record-high usage figure, which is seemingly a means to reassure advertisers that his app is actually doing fine, despite what would appear to be harmful shifts.

But I don’t know, I’m not sure that I trust the numbers coming out of X HQ.

As you may recall, in July last year, as Elon sought to wriggle out of his $44 billion offer for the app, Musk’s legal team argued that Twitter wasn’t actually worth all that money due to the high amount of bot profiles that it had included in its active user figures.

Previous Twitter management had long held that the number of fake profiles in the app did not exceed 5% of its total mDAU count, based on its own sampling. But Musk claimed that it was actually much higher than this, with his own analysis showing that up to  33% of then-active Twitter profiles were fakes.

Elon eventually settled on it being a more modest 20% of Twitter’s total user count, (while noting that it was likely much higher). But even at 20%, that would mean that, at the time, 50 million Twitter users were actually bots, at the least, according to Musk and his team.

Yet, since Elon’s taken over at the app, he seems to have completely forgotten about these findings. Twitter has since added 15 million more daily actives to its total mDAU count, with Musk reporting that the app now has 252 million mDAU, which is on top of his new team removing bots and combating spam.

So, based on Elon’s own math, if he’s removed all the bots (50 million profiles) and added 15 million new users, that would mean that Twitter/X has added 65 million new, real human users in less than a year. That’s astronomically high growth for an app that’s struggled to build its audience over time.

It’s possible, I guess, but very unlikely, while the jump to 540 million monthly users is also a big, big leap from the 368 million MAU that Twitter was reported to have last year.

When you also add to this the reports that Elon oversaw a program designed to mislead Tesla drivers about battery range, has repeatedly over-promised on the availability of self-driving, and proposed his Hyperloop project to delay a potential high-speed rail project (and sell more cars), among other campaigns of misinformation, it’s hard to fully trust the data that he posts from his X account.

So maybe this is true, maybe X has seen dramatic and frankly unbelievable growth in the face of rising challenges. But as you can tell, I’m personally pretty skeptical about it.

How you feel about the same is down to your interpretations of Musk and his actions, but essentially, X may be growing at a very strong rate, despite repeated proclamations of its death.

 Maybe that influences your usage of the app.

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