Since October 2022, Elon Musk has rebranded the platform and purchased the company, resulting in significant changes to Twitter. The social media platform has undergone a period of transition, characterized by overhauls in policies, algorithms, as well as companywide layoffs and top executive departures.
Pew Research Center conducts studies on the utilization of the platform by American citizens, encompassing a wide range of factual information. Despite various alterations, Twitter remains a popular choice among millions of Americans.
A significantly larger percentage of U.S. Adults utilized YouTube (81%), Facebook (69%), and Instagram (40%). The usage rates for Snapchat (25%) and WhatsApp (23%) were comparable to the proportion of Americans using these platforms, which remained consistent over a number of years. As of early 2021, 23% of U.S. Adults reported using Twitter.
In 2021, there was a 17% increase in both learners and Republicans compared to 2020. Early reports from Twitter indicated that 32% of independents leaned towards the Democratic party, while about a third of Democrats were Democratic-leaning. Republicans were more likely to use Twitter compared to Democrats.
In the spring of 2023, a survey was conducted on U.S. Adults who had used Twitter in the past year, revealing that 60% of them had taken a break from the platform. The survey took place approximately five months after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter.
In the example, there were insufficient Asian American Twitter participants to analyze individually. The identical statement was made by Black users (67%), which was more probable than their White (60%) or Hispanic (54%) counterparts. Females were more inclined than males to express that they had taken a hiatus from the platform (69% vs. 54%), among individuals who had utilized Twitter within the preceding 12 months before the survey.
In the 2023 survey, a quarter of the respondents stated that they were either not very likely or not at all likely to be active on Twitter after a year. Around 35% mentioned that they were somewhat inclined to use the platform, while the majority (40%) expressed their high likelihood of using the site in the upcoming year. Similarly, a quarter of the individuals who currently or recently use Twitter stated that it is improbable for them to remain on the site in the subsequent year, according to the same 2023 survey.
It is improbable that Democratic users, a greater proportion of them compared to Republican users, would be active on Twitter within a year (29% vs. 20%). Conversely, Republican Twitter users, unlike their Democratic counterparts, had a higher likelihood of expressing their intention to continue using the platform a year after the survey was conducted (45% vs. 36%).
Following Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the average number of tweets per month for these users, who are classified as the top 20% based on tweet volume, experienced a decrease of approximately 25%, as reported by a Center analysis of public tweets from January 2022 to April 2023. Although the platform was still used by the most highly active users, their frequency of posting decreased.
Despite the decline in tweet volume, between January and April 2022, Musk remained the most active among the users of that site, with eight-in-ten of the most active adult Twitter users.
The majority of tweets, retweets, and replies were original tweets (15%) or retweets (9%). Other users (40%) or retweets (35%) were replies to these tweets. In April 2023 and October 2022, U.S. Adult users posted a vast number of tweets, retweets, and replies, according to the analysis.
Analyzing Twitter users based on their political affiliations uncovered disparities in the categories of tweets that users share.
Democratic Twitter users were more likely to post replies and retweets to their Republican counterparts than Republicans were to post replies and retweets to Democrats.
Users who identify as Republican have become much less likely to say that the site’s impact on American democracy has changed. In 2021, 60% of users said the site is mostly bad for democracy, compared to 21% in 2023. On the other hand, the share of Republican users who say the platform is mostly good for American democracy has increased from 17% in 2021 to 43% in 2023.
The growth in the percentage of individuals who express that it is detrimental to democracy was relatively minor, increasing from 28% to 35%. Over a span of two years, the percentage of Democratic users who believed that the platform is predominantly beneficial for American democracy declined from 47% to 24%. Conversely, the perspectives of Democratic Twitter users have shifted in the opposite direction.
Democratic Twitter users on the platform (68% vs. 37%) expressed a higher tendency compared to Republican users in acknowledging inaccurate or deceptive information as a significant issue. As of March 2023, partisan Twitter users have become increasingly divergent in their perspectives regarding misinformation, harassment, and the overall level of civility observed on the platform.
Democratic users also stated that the tone and civility of discussions (50% vs. 27%) and the occurrence of harassment and abuse from other users (65% vs. 29%) were significant issues, surpassing Republican users in their concerns.
The manner in which the website’s authentication system operates, he also altered. The issues that he dissolved the team assigned to handle, and offensive language or false information according to Twitter’s regulations, multiple accounts that were prohibited for breaching, he restored after Musk obtained the platform.
Notable increases in their shares between 2021 and 2023 were observed in the limiting of visibility of certain posts (17% in 2021 to 32% in 2023) and the banning of users from the platform (6% to 19%), as reported by Democratic users who stated that Twitter experienced major problems in these areas.