Don’t ask us about the mixed martial arts bout between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg will it really be held or not. Because given the constant and almost daily reversals in the face, at this point to give an answer one could only rely on chance.
To slightly change the perspective on one of the two contenders, we can say that in the past few hours Elon Musk has found himself at the center of a controversy over the number of his X followers. The platform he owns, which until July was called Twitter, is notoriously the forum from which Musk loves to administer catchy phrases, often paradoxical and frankly not easy to decipher.
Beyond the compulsive and creative use of the medium, one thing is certain: with his 153.7 million (abundant) followers, Elon Musk is the character with the most followers on X.
But, according to researcher Travis Brown, all that glitters is not gold. Let’s find out why.
Elon Musk, inactive followers and accounts
It was Travis Brown who took the trouble to analyze the composition of Elon Musk’s followers on X, independent researcher. The data was later made public by Mashable, in an article on Friday, August 18.
I wonder if the basis of this analysis is the lack of sympathy enjoyed by the owner of X in a large part of the people of the web (and not only), for his utterances – and above all actions – often marked by a clear narcissism and an entirely personal idea of freedom and democracy.
More likely, the reason is numerical, and must be sought in the dramatic leap in Musk’s follower count since Octoberthe month of his inauguration at the helm of the company, to date.
But we finally get to the research numbers by Brown.
Elon Musk boasts over X 153.7 million followers. If, as stated by Musk himself, the platform has 540 million monthly users, that means that 25% of global X users follow the owner’s profile.
Well, Travis Brown found that about 42% of them (more than 65.3 million) non ha follower. And if you take Musk’s followers who have less than 10 followers, you get to 112 million profiles. That is over 72% of the total.
It is not enough: around 62.5 million followers of Elon Musk (41%+) have never published a post. And if we consider the profiles that have published less than 10 posts, we jump over 100 million followers.
Add that more than a quarter of X users who follow Musk (38.9 million) became his followers after the then-Twitter takeoveron October 27, 2022.
To insinuate further doubts is the fact that ben 25% of Musk’s followers use a default profile picture. And more than 40% have a username with 4 or more numbers (type that is automatically produced at the time of registration). Finally, just 453,000 profiles that follow Musk, therefore only 0.3%, are subscribed to X Premium.
This set of data at least suggests the possibility that many of Elon Musk’s followers are inactive or even fake.
If then, as we have said, the owner of the company is followed by about a quarter of the total users of the social network, it is not difficult to think that similar percentages can be extended to all subscribers. And that therefore behind X there may be something wrong.
Twitter and inactive accounts
Moreover, a possible massive presence of inactive accounts it would run counter to the action Musk himself should have taken. At least according to one of his posts last May (but by now we’ve learned how often the owner of X announces things he then… forgets to do), according to which the company that was then still called Twitter would have eliminated many inactive accounts. In fact, Musk had written: “We are deleting all accounts that have not done activity in the last few years. This means that you may see your number of followers reduce”.
Stop blocking users
Meanwhile, on Saturday 19 August, Musk returned to the fore with a curious post.
In which he announced that soon on X it will no longer be possible to block accounts (not even unverified ones) but only private messages. The only way to prevent others from reading your published posts is to make your account private.
In short: the umpteenth move by Elon Musk in the name of a truly peculiar concept of freedom.