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Donald Trump tweets for the first time in 958 days – how it'll shake up X
Here's what to expect in the next few days, according to our data research, now that former President Trump posted his mugshot to X
Update: In the first 30 minutes, Trump’s tweet reached 8.8 million views, received 58,7000 replies, 105,000 retweets (shares) and 228,400 likes.
For the first time in 958 days, former US President Donald Trump has tweet using his dormant and previously banned account on Twitter – which is now called X, has posts instead of tweets and is owned by Tesla CEO and Space X founder Elon Musk.
A lot has changed in two years and seven months since Trump has been active on the social media platform (January 8, 2021 had been his last tweet), but his message hasn’t wavered. Trumps posted his mugshot (taken today in Georgia and likely to be the most widely seen mugshot in history) along with a caption: “Election Interference” and “Never Surrender!” His website address appears in both the screenshot and in the actual post text (it’s the only text in the post – submitted without comment).
Threads is turning into MSNBC or CNN and Twitter has become Fox News
What Trump’s return to X means for Truth Social
Elon Musk unbanned Donald Trump’s Twitter account on November 19, 2022 after conducting a Twitter poll about reinstating the former President. But Trump vowed to remain off Twitter and stick with his own platform, Truth Social, despite the fact that it’s significantly smaller and mostly an echo chamber of Trump’s supporters.
Now that the 2024 US Presidential campaign season is underway, Trump may be returning to Twitter/X in an effort to reach a much wider audience. There probably aren’t many swing voters on Truth Social. If he keeps posting on X, it could instantly deflate any remaining momentum that Truth Social had going for it.
What Trump’s return to X means for Threads
Trump’s return to the social network formerly known as Twitter could also impact Threads. Why? Because, according to our own data at The Shortcut, as soon as there’s an ounce of support for conservative policies on X, liberal-minded account holders deactivate their X accounts. I’ve seen wild swings in user abandonment and the timings always correspond to Elon Musk’s changes that are seen as political. In a sense, Threads is turning into MSNBC or CNN and Twitter has become Fox News.
For a concrete example, the biggest Twitter account deactivations I saw in the trending data happened on November 20, 2022. Why that date? The night before, Musk unbanned Trump’s account, so Twitter users fled in the morning.
Proving a Twitter liberal exodus with data
The best example of this in my Twitter analytics research is Mark Hamill – yes, Luke Skywalker. The Star Wars actor is a fairly outspoken liberal voice (and you’d presume he’d have liberal followers and scare off conservatives). In November 2022, he lost 37,503 followers, according to Social Blade.
People were unfollowing Mark Hamill in droves – they were deactivating their Twitter accounts. Hamill’s account is my favorite example of this because the data spans more than five million accounts – it’s very obvious.
Hamill’s account recovered 16,776 followers in December 2022 and 12,334 followers in January 2023 (these were likely people reactivating their accounts). But since then, he has lost followers every month this year except May.
Proving even larger conservative Twitter gains
To contrast that data, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has only gained Twitter followers since Elon Musk took over. The spikes are even more massive than Hamill’s drops: 393,097 in November 2022 (again, when Trump was unbanned from Twitter) and seven months earlier 379,216 in April 2022 when Elon Musk bought Twitter.
What’s even more fascinating is that the only time Shapiro lost Twitter followers was in January 2021 (when Trump was banned from Twitter), losing a staggering 170,228. Frustrated conservatives left the Jack Dorsey-owned Twitter and only came back in massive numbers when the platform came under new ownership.
Although Threads has been a massive drop in daily active users, it’ll be interesting to see if it rebounds a bit this weekend due to Donald Trump’s return to X. Expect more fluctuations in user reactivations and abandonment in the coming days.
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