Republican politicians have gained Twitter followers in the hundreds of thousands while Democrats saw plummeting followers after billionaire and Tesla founder Elon Musk took over the social media platform, according to The Washington Post.
Republicans gained 8,000 followers on average while Democrats lost 4,000 in the weeks after the takeover, according to the Post’s analysis of ProPublica data.
The shift began abruptly the week of Musk’s Oct. 27 Twitter takeover; accounts analyzed by the Post had been fairly stagnant from Sept. 30 to Oct. 24.
Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan both gained more than 300,000 followers in the three weeks after the Musk takeover, while Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff and Democratic Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders all lost about 100,000, according to the Post.
The mass deletion of bot accounts could account for the trend, as could a possible exodus of left-leaning Twitter users from the platform or the entry of new conservatives, according to the Post, although not all followers of politicians are supporters.
“Clearly something was going on at Twitter,” Greene’s spokesman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s the only explanation for the massive growth of her account. Who knows what her follower account would be if conservatives had been treated fairly.”
Greene’s personal Twitter account was permanently suspended in January for repeated violations of the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy and was reinstated under Musk’s leadership.
She has requested that Musk share internal communications about the company’s past decisions to make permanent bans of prominent accounts.
Republican accounts also saw a large surge in followers in April amid rumors that Musk’s purchase of the site was being finalized; the platform claimed the sudden change was organic, while some conservative users said the platform had been throttling their accounts but stopped ahead of Musk’s takeover.
- Gov. DeSantis on Oct. 27, the day Musk took over Twitter, added 3,770 new followers. Over the next four days, he added a total of almost 148,000.
- Rep. Gaetz picked up 1,009 new followers Oct. 27. By Sunday, he had added at least another 41,000.
- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz got 1,676 new followers on Musk’s first day. Over the next two days, he scooped up another 65,380.
- Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene picked up 1,995 new followers on Oct. 27. The next day MTG added 41,520 new followers, with another 24,287 added the day after.
- Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert’s following grew by 1,848 accounts on Oct. 27. The next day another 33,897 joined them.
- Don Trump Jr. gained 3,543 new followers when Musk wandered into Twitter’s headquarters. Over the next four days, he gathered roughly 198,000 more.
- Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for governor in Arizona, padded her followers’ count by 1,618 when Musk came aboard. The following day she added 33,204 more.
Citing a report by The Economist, Newsweek noted, “Democratic House and Senate representatives lost 420,000 followers between October 27 and 30, an average of 1,600 each.”
“High-profile Democratic figures such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Vice President Kamala Harris, and former president Barack Obama all lost thousands of followers the day after Musk’s takeover, prompting speculation that left-leaning Twitter users may have left the platform in protest of Musk’s ownership.”