Twitter says mass deactivations after Musk news were 'organic'

Twitter has been flooded with user reports of high-profile accounts losing thousands of followers in the hours after news broke that Tesla CEO Elon Musk would purchase the social network. The company said Tuesday that the “fluctuations in follower counts” came from “organic” account closures.

Some accounts on the political right, including that of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., saw their follower counts skyrocket.

Greene, who boasted 539,000 followers the day before news of Musk’s takeover, had 632,000 followers by Tuesday evening.

Twitter did not provide an exact number of accounts that were shuttered or activated in the hours after the ownership announcement Monday. It said it was looking into the "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 be a result of an increase in new account creation and deactivation,” Twitter said in a statement.

A spokesperson at Twitter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the accounts that experienced the most severe drop-offs in followers were “high-profile accounts.”

Former President Barack Obama, the most followed user on Twitter, whose number had increased every day in April, lost more than 300,000 followers after Monday’s announcement.

Pop star Katy Perry, the third most followed user on Twitter, lost more than 200,000 after the announcement.

Some right-wing politicians noticed and lauded the increased follower counts Tuesday.

“It really is something how conservative accounts are getting massive follower increases today,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., tweeted.

The bolstered follower counts of the right wing were not limited to the American right. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist, gained almost 90,000 followers in the day after Musk’s announcement.

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