Study Reveals 60% of U.S. Twitter Users Take Breaks from the Platform, but Is It Elon Musk's Influence?

A recent study conducted by Pew Research Center sheds light on the reduced usage of Twitter by U.S. adults. However, the data does not directly attribute this decline to Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform. According to Pew’s survey of U.S. adult Twitter users during a week in March, 60% of respondents stated that they had taken a break from Twitter for several weeks or more within the past year.

It’s worth noting that Elon Musk officially took over Twitter on October 27, 2022, which means his ownership has been in effect for only six months, not a full year. Therefore, the reasons behind Twitter users taking prolonged breaks may or may not be related to the change in ownership. Without historical data for comparison, it remains unclear if this behavior has been consistent among Twitter users before this period.

Nonetheless, the data is intriguing, as it suggests that Twitter has not achieved such a strong addiction factor or become an indispensable daily habit for all users. In contrast to Meta’s social apps, which boast 3.02 billion daily active users in the first quarter, Twitter sees some users abstaining from the platform for extended periods, according to Pew’s findings. (For details on the methodology, refer to Pew’s report, which involved over 10,000 respondents.)

Pew’s analysis provides some insights into the potential reasons for this behavior, revealing that women and Black users are more likely to take breaks from the app. Specifically, 69% of women compared to 54% of men reported taking a break from Twitter in the past year. Likewise, 67% of Black users took a break, compared to 60% of white users and 54% of Hispanic users. (The survey did not include a sufficient number of Asian American Twitter users for a detailed analysis, as noted by Pew.)

These findings suggest that it is not primarily politics or age that drives people to temporarily leave Twitter. Instead, it indicates a correlation with demographics that have historically faced higher levels of harassment on the platform, as highlighted in previous reports and analyses, including those from Amnesty International.

However, Pew’s research does not specifically attribute these trends to Elon Musk’s influence. The report examines the past 12 months and does not compare usage patterns before and after Musk’s ownership. If anything, this suggests that Twitter has long struggled to address the issue of abuse on its platform, despite continuous policy updates aimed at tackling this problem.

In a separate study released concurrently, Pew explores Twitter’s future by gauging current and recent users’ likelihood of using the platform one year from now. The majority of respondents (40%) indicated that they were “extremely” or “very likely” to continue using the app, while 35% chose “somewhat likely.” However, 25% of current and recent Twitter users expressed that they were “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to use the app in a year’s time.

Once again, the demographic breakdown aligns with the previous survey, as male users were more inclined to express their likelihood of using Twitter compared to female users (47% versus 31%).

Pew’s study also uncovers a partisan divide regarding future Twitter usage. Republican or Republican-leaning users were more likely than Democrats to state that they were “likely” to use the platform a year from now (45% versus 36%). Additionally, Republicans were more inclined to say they were “extremely likely” to remain on Twitter compared to Democrats (25% versus 17%).

It is important to note that none of these findings conclusively indicate a decline in active Twitter users, as there is no context regarding the frequency of previous “breaks” taken by users. However, surveys from last year suggested a decline in Twitter users in the U.S. following Musk’s takeover. Despite this, Musk claimed in November that Twitter usage was at an “all-time high,” and more recent data from Apptopia supports this statement, showing an increase in daily active users from 229 million in Q1 2022 to 246.8 million on average since October 2022. (This data did not provide a country breakdown, although the U.S. represents Twitter’s largest market.)

Ultimately, Pew’s data highlights not the extent to which Musk’s policies and disruptions have impacted Twitter usage in the U.S., but rather the distance Twitter still needs to cover to become an app that users don’t feel the need to pause regularly.

Mike Hunt

A writer and reviewer with good experience in the field of technology. He worked for a long time in technology news sites. He is interested in all news, mobile phones and modern technology. He has a strong resume. He works for us as a writer and reviewer. You can contact him via e-mail: [email protected]

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