How Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover has driven British users away: X has lost almost three MILLION monthly UK visitors this year, figures reveal


Since acquiring the company more than a year ago, Elon Musk has made a number of controversial changes to Twitter.

Aside from changing the name of the app to X, this includes laying off 80% of the company’s workforce and putting the platform’s features behind a paywall.

Now, a report suggests that people in the UK have had enough, with the platform losing nearly three million British users in the past 12 months.

Although the app is still the fourth most popular app in the UK, it lags behind the likes of Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, Ofcom data shows.

Musk himself may also be too controversial for his own good, with ongoing questions surrounding him and his leadership.

Twitter has lost nearly three million British users in the past 12 months, while rival TikTok has gained 4.6 million users.

X, or Twitter as it was known at the time of its acquisition by Elon Musk, has seen a decline in the number of British adult users, according to Ofcom.

X, or Twitter as it was known at the time of its acquisition by Elon Musk, has seen a decline in the number of British adult users, according to Ofcom.

X is the fourth most used app among British adults, Ofcom shows

1. YouTube (Lost 0.3 million users)

2. Facebook and Messenger (Lost 1.4 million)

3. Instagram (acquired 0.5 million)

4. X/Twitter (Lost 2.9 million)

5. TikTok (acquired 4.6 million)

6. LinkedIn (acquired 0.3 million)

7. Reddit (acquired 0.7 million)

8. Pinterest (Lost 1.5 million)

9. Snapchat (acquired 0.4 million)

10. Nextdoor (Lost 1.1 million)

(Figures refer to UK adult users between May 2022 and May 2023)

X lost 2.9 million monthly users between May 2022 and May 2023, according to Ofcom. Nation online The report released today.

Back in May last year, the total monthly adult audience in the UK was 26.8 million, but by May 2023 that number had fallen to 24 million.

However, the average time daily spent by UK adults on the site rose from six minutes to 10 minutes over the same time period.

Although Musk only acquired Twitter in October 2022, the app “has been seeing a gradual decline in online adult reach in the UK in recent years,” the report says — though Musk is likely to accelerate this.

Jake Moore, a technical expert and security consultant at ESET, blamed Musk’s many controversial decisions in X for the decline in the user base.

“When 80 per cent of the workforce leave for a number of reasons, the knock-on effects are inevitable,” Moore told MailOnline.

“X” has seen a shift in trend where some tweets are not seen by many users and are paid for, verified users are promoted, but people often don’t like the change.

“Trying to force payment for services that were default, like direct messaging for everyone, may be difficult for long-term users to digest.”

Moore also pointed to the strong pull of competing social media platforms, especially TikTok, which focuses more on short videos than text.

Elon Musk (pictured) took over Twitter in October and has just changed the name of the social network to X. Musk has just been accused of promoting anti-Semitism after approving a post that claimed Jews

Elon Musk (pictured) took over Twitter in October and has just changed the name of the social network to

“Younger users prefer short video platforms which may also support the shift to other social media while offering free features by default and showing more diversity,” he said.

According to Ofcom data, YouTube is the most popular app for British adults with 43.5 million monthly users, although this is down from 43.9 million in May 2022.

Unsurprisingly, TikTok was the big winner in terms of user acquisition, which rose from 16.6 million adult users in the UK in May 2022 to 21.2 million in May 2023.

This annual gain of 4.6 million users was more than any other app in the top 10, and although TikTok is only in fifth place, it could climb higher than the likes of Facebook and Instagram.

“Video has a much greater reach than small messages,” Moore said.

“Twitter will have to target young people with videos to maintain its audience share.”

Although not in the top 10, another competitor to X is Threads – which Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta company launched in July to rival X and has “generated interest” among Brits, Ofcom says.

In the UK, by the beginning of September, 23 percent of internet users aged 16 or over said they had used Threads.

Topics - closely linked to Instagram - allow users to share text posts up to 500 characters long, as well as links, photos and five-minute videos.

Topics – closely linked to Instagram – allow users to share text posts up to 500 characters long, as well as links, photos and five-minute videos.

This is a surprisingly high percentage, especially compared to those who said they used X/Twitter (52%), which was first launched in 2006.

The Threads app — closely linked to someone’s Instagram account — became the fastest-downloaded app in history when it was released over the summer.

More than 70 million people downloaded Threads in the two days following its launch on July 5 – a number that reached 150 million within a week.

However, Threads has since lost users, and experts believe it may have trouble replacing X, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Musk.

Another app that could take users closer to the X is Bluesky, which got a limited release on Android and iOS earlier this year.

Bluesky, which was founded by a team including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is in beta (invite-only) mode and has 1.8 million registered accounts globally, Ofcom said.

A timeline of Elon Musk’s eventful time on Twitter so far

October 27: Musk officially became the new owner of Twitter, tweeting “The bird is freed.”

November 1: Musk confirms plans to change Twitter’s “Blue Tick” verification system, for a discounted subscription fee of $8 per month.

November 4: Musk is laying off half of Twitter’s workforce as an alleged cost-cutting measure, claiming he has “no choice.”

November 9: Musk launched “Twitter Blue” subscription service that verifies accounts for a monthly fee.

November 11Twitter Blue has been temporarily suspended due to accounts purchasing verification and using it to impersonate brands and public figures.

November 12: Musk fires 80% of Twitter contractors without warning.

November 15: Musk fires employees who posted negative comments about him on business messaging app Slack. The lawsuit between Musk and Twitter was dismissed.

November 16: Twitter employees were told they needed to sign a pledge so they could stay in their roles where they “work long hours at high intensity” or receive three months of severance pay, triggering a mass exodus.

November 18: A news feed played on Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters calls Musk a “space Karen,” a “middle child,” and a “bankruptcy child.”

November 23: A Twitter user reported 5.4 million phone numbers and email addresses were leaked on the dark web, before his account was suspended.

November 26: The Financial Times revealed that 50 of the top 100 advertisers on the platform have paused their advertising.

November 29: Curriculum Twitter is in the process of reinstating about 62,000 banned accounts, each with more than 10,000 followers, Twitter said.

December 12Twitter Blue has been relaunched with a new Blue Tick review process.

January 11: Twitter will start automatically redirecting users to the “For You” tab — its algorithmic tweet feed — every time they open the app.

February 8: Twitter is expanding the character limit to 4,000 for Twitter Blue subscribers in the US. Shortly after, the site experienced technical difficulties.

February 12: Musk ordered employees to revamp Twitter’s tweet promotion algorithm after a Super Bowl tweet didn’t get enough impressions.

February 15: Twitter announced that it will remove two-factor SMS authentication (2FA) from the free version of Twitter — a decision that a security expert described as “ridiculous” that will lead to “many accounts getting hacked.”

February 25: Twitter unveils a new round of layoffs that has reduced its workforce to fewer than 2,000 people — a sharp decline from 7,500 employees when the billionaire first took office in October.

March 28: Musk announces that he will prevent people from voting in Twitter polls or having their tweets appear in the For You tab if they don’t pay for Twitter Blue.

April 11Musk gave an interview to the BBC at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, where he said he was sleeping on the floor of the company’s offices. Musk also accused the interviewer of lying because he was unable to support the accusations of hate speech on the platform.

June 21: Musk says he’s ready for a cage fight with rival tech company CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

July 1: Musk announced limits on the number of tweets users can see per day — 600 for people who haven’t signed up for Twitter Blue, and 6,000 for Twitter Blue subscribers.

July: Twitter’s name has been changed to X – a recurring letter in Musk’s life and career.

September 18: Musk said he may soon charge a small fee for using Twitter/X.

November 15: Musk appears to endorse a tweet claiming that Jewish people “spread hate against white people,” leading to accusations of anti-Semitism.

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