Twitter's User Base Will Likely Shift Amid Musk's Acquisition

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author
By

Apr. 27 2022, Published 9:44 a.m. ET

Has the drama over Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter almost come to an end or is it just getting started? Twitter’s board approved his offer to acquire the company at $54.20 per share. While some have been supportive of Musk’s Twitter bid, many others have opposed his acquisition and plan to make the microblogging site private.

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Given the polarized world that we live in, cancel culture has become part of society for some. Some conservatives have canceled their Disney+ subscriptions after the company opposed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. As Musk looks set to acquire Twitter, many prominent personalities have said that they will leave the platform. Why are people getting mad at Twitter and leaving?

How many users does Twitter have?

Twitter reported MAUs (monthly active users) until 2018. It had 321 million DAUs at the end of 2018 and the metric fell on a quarterly basis in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company reported a sequential fall in DAUs in the previous two quarters as well. In 2019, Twitter said that it wouldn't keep reporting DAUs and shifted to mDAU (monetizable daily active users).

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At the end of 2021, Twitter had 217 million mDAUs compared to 192 million at the end of 2020. The company describes mDAUs as “people, organizations, or other accounts who logged in or were otherwise authenticated and accessed Twitter on any given day through twitter.com, Twitter applications that are able to show ads, or paid Twitter products, including subscriptions.”

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Twitter amended its mDAU definition in the fourth quarter of 2021 to include “paid Twitter products, including subscriptions.” However, the company added that the change in classification didn't have a material impact on the metric. Twitter is working to increase its mDAUs to over 315 million by the end of 2023.

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Who's leaving Twitter?

Several prominent Twitter users have talked about leaving the platform, including actress Jamila Jameel who has over a million followers. Henrik Fisker, who's the CEO of EV startup Fisker has left the social media platform and called upon his followers to go to Instagram instead.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow, civil rights activist Shaun King, Mike Foley, and Amy Siskind have also said that they will leave Twitter. However, it isn't all gloom and doom. Some users have said that they will rejoin Twitter when Musk takes over.

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Who's joining Twitter as Musk takes over?

Tucker Carlson and Mark Levin of Fox News have returned to Twitter. While Carlson’s account was suspended in March, Levin voluntarily suspended his account in January 2021. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also tweeted through her official account that she wants her Twitter back, which was suspended for violating Twitter’s COVID-19 misinformation guidelines.

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Why are people leaving Twitter?

Many are worried that there will be increased hate speech and misinformation on Twitter under the guise of “free speech.” Twitter has a strict approach to hateful and abusive content on the platform but that could change under Musk who calls himself a “free speech absolutist.”

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As for Fisker’s case, he seems worried about his free speech being curtailed on the platform once it's owned by the Tesla CEO. Also, while Musk has a massive fan base, many hate him for multiple reasons.

Simply put those on the left of the political divide have been talking about leaving Twitter. However, those on the right have been rejoicing and returning to Twitter. While many conservatives want Musk to restore Trump’s Twitter account, the former President has said that he won't return to Twitter and will focus on Truth Social, his own social media company.

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