Twitter User Growth Doesn’t Add Up to Elon Musk’s Bot Account Claims

Elon Musk recently presented data pertaining to Twitter’s user growth at the Morgan Stanley Tech, Media and Telecommunications Conference back in March. He revealed that Twitter’s total number of users had crossed the quarter of a billion mark, reaching 253 million daily active users as of the fourth quarter of 2022. In spite of the fact that this is the case, many are claiming that these numbers don’t stack up with all things having been considered and taken into account.

To be fair, Musk’s claims are more or less in line with Twitter’s growth over the past few years. Twitter had already reached 237.8 million daily active users by July of 2022, and Musk’s takeover certainly created a lot of hype. Another of Musk’s claims was that users are now spending an average of 31 minutes on the app per day, which comes up to 8 billion minutes of usage time on a daily basis.

Third party analyses have confirmed that the average Twitter user spends about thirty minutes on the app each and every day. With all of that having been said and now out of the way it is important to note that Musk’s own past claims seem to refute his current assertions. Back in July when Musk was desperately trying to back out of the $44 billion Twitter acquisition deal that he was being compelled to honor, he claimed that the platform had too many bots.

Musk asserted that as many as 33% of the total number of daily active Twitter users were bots, which was far higher than the 5% claimed by Twitter itself at the time. Musk later reduced the claimed proportion of bots to 20%, yet he still tried to assert that the number could be much higher.

Even if we were to take Twitter’s 5% reported admission at face value, Musk’s whole desire behind buying Twitter was to purge the platform of bots. Given Twitter’s 237 million odd daily active users in July, removing bots would have decreased daily active users by 12.65 million.

If Musk’s own 20% claims were true, that would mean as many as 50 million accounts would have had to be removed. Given all of this, Musk owned Twitter will have had to acquire anywhere from 25 million to 65 million new users in order to make his March claims of user growth trustworthy.

There are three possibilities at play here. Either Twitter didn’t have any bots, or Musk has not purged any of them despite claiming that he would (or perhaps they have emerged again quickly). Finally, Musk’s 253 million statistic might be pulled out of thin air. Either way, nothing about these numbers seem to add up.

Bots riding Twitter logos, Twitter's claims of removing millions of bots are contradicted by user growth data, which shows that the platform's user base has remained relatively flat.

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