In the days after agreeing to a $44 billion takeover deal, some of the platform's highest-profile users saw massive "organic" deactivations and huge fluctuations in follower numbers.
The follower numbers for some of Twitter's most-followed accounts, including former President Barack Obama, singer Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift, have dropped by hundreds of thousands. Obama, who is Twitter's most-followed user with 131.7 million followers, saw his follower count decrease by 300,000 since Monday. Perry, who has 108.8 million followers, has lost 200,000.
Twitter is racking up the platform of bots and fake accounts, which can result in follower counts falling, but the company reassured NBC News that recent changes were "organic" and not automated or deletion of bots, resulting in a number of thousands of users deactivating.
Conversely, follower numbers for prominent right-wing politicians and personalities have seen dramatic rises in the days since the Musk takeover news. NBC News reports that controversial GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene saw her follower count increase 100,000, and far-right Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro has gained 90,000 followers since Monday.
Deactivations come as Twitter users are concerned about Musk's more expansive approach to free speech. They expect significant changes in content moderation on the platform, as well as less stringent guidelines on abuse, extreme political groups, and the return of banned users.
"My strong intuitive understanding is that having a public platform that is widely trusted and broadly inclusive is absolutely necessary to civilization's future; I don't care about economics at all," Musk said at the TED session in Vancouver on April 14.