Elon Musk, the influential figure at the forefront of technological innovation, boasts a colossal following on X, formerly known as Twitter. However, recent revelations by a Berlin-based software developer, Travis Brown, have cast doubt on the authenticity of this immense follower count. The data extracted by Brown has brought to light millions of seemingly inactive accounts within Musk’s followership.
This narrative began in March of the current year when Elon Musk, surpassing even former President Barack Obama, claimed the title of the most followed individual on X. This achievement was met with awe and admiration, but Brown’s research has introduced a new perspective. The data he meticulously compiled and analyzed hinted that a substantial portion of Musk’s following might be more illusion than actuality.
Within the scope of Brown’s investigation, a staggering 42% of the 153,209,283 X accounts that followed Musk exhibited zero followers on their own profiles. Furthermore, a remarkable 72% of these accounts showed less than 10 followers. The apparent inactivity of a significant portion of Musk’s followers raises questions about the genuine nature of this following.
Beyond mere numerical statistics, the characteristics of the followers also raised eyebrows. Typical traits that often point towards automated bot accounts or inactive users were discernible. Approximately a quarter of the followers, numbering over 38 million, utilized the default profile image provided by X for new accounts. Additionally, nearly 50 million followers had usernames consisting of strings of numbers, a telltale sign of automated accounts.
Interestingly, Brown also noted that 13.5 million accounts on this list were singularly devoted to following only one account: @ElonMusk. This curious observation adds another layer to the investigation, prompting further scrutiny of the authenticity of these followers.
Brown’s analysis also delved into the timing of account creation. It emerged that more than 38.9 million of Musk’s current followers only established their accounts subsequent to Musk taking control of Twitter on October 27, 2022. This observation raises questions about the motivations behind these new accounts and their rapid accumulation in such a short time span.
Elon Musk’s endorsement of X Premium, previously known as Twitter Blue, was anticipated to draw significant traction due to his influence. However, the data collected by Brown paints a different picture. Only a minuscule fraction, a mere 0.3%, of Musk’s followers, had opted for this premium subscription, contrary to expectations.
While the data and observations presented by Travis Brown do not definitively prove the inauthenticity of Musk’s followers, they undeniably raise suspicions. The intricate interplay of statistics, characteristics, and timing invite further investigation into the nature of this massive following. As technology continues to shape our interactions and perceptions, discerning authenticity from illusion becomes an ever more complex challenge.