New Data Reveals Twitter’s Diminishing Role as a Source of News

When Elon Musk first took control of Twitter, he claimed that he was going to make it the number one source of news in the world. In spite of the fact that this is the case, it seems like his actions after acquiring the company have had the exact opposite effect. According to data that was recently published by Chartbeat, the traffic that Twitter sends to news publishers has seen a startling decline which does not bode well for the company’s future.

Back in 2018, 1.9% of all of the traffic to went to news publishing sites came from Twitter. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that this now sits at just 1.3%. While the proportion was not all that high in 2018, Twitter’s goal was to improve the metric rather than to send it into a downward spiral.

Medium sized publishers saw referrals fall from just under 7 million in 2018 to around 3.7 million in 2023. This represents a 40% decline, which can be disastrous to publishers who may have been relying on these views to keep themselves afloat.

Smaller publishers have it even worse, with hardly any traffic coming in from Twitter. In 2018, small news publishers saw 10 million referrals from Twitter, but this number saw a drastic decline of a whopping 98% over the next five years.

However, in 2023, just 186,930 referrals went to these smaller scale sites from Twitter, thereby suggesting that it is no longer a viable place for them to get more eyes on their content. This is a huge difference from five years earlier, when small publishers got far more referrals than publishers that were larger in size.

Conversely, larger publishers appear to be doing just as well as ever, since they have only seen referrals dip by 4%. The preference for larger publishers may be a sign that Twitter is no longer a hospitable environment for smaller organizations to grow in with all things having been considered and taken into account.

While it can be easy to attribute this negative trajectory to Elon Musk, it bears mentioning that things were going in the wrong direction long before he took the helm. However, it would be fair to state that he has not done much to make things better, but has rather made things worse.

The continued decline in referrals following his acquisition is a clear sign that he is alienating new sites. This is potentially even contributing to the spread of fake news and misinformation on the platform.

This trend is fairly similar to what is being seen on Meta, with the Facebook owning company eschewing sending traffic to publishers in favor of keeping users on its own platform. Twitter might be using this approach since referrals could lead to decreased ad revenue down the line, although it remains to be seen if it is according to Musk’s plans or an unfortunate accident.

Indeed, referral traffic seems to be down across the board, with everyone from Meta to Google trying to keep users on their own sites because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up increasing their revenue.

H/T: Pressgazette

Read next: Twitter Wants Academic Researchers To Delete All Of Its Data Or Pay A Fee For API Access
Previous Post Next Post