- Twitter usage surged in the early days of Elon Musk’s ownership.
- In recent months, the app now named X has seen a decline in usage, web traffic, and downloads.
- Downloads of the app are now lower than the years prior to Twitter going public.
Twitter is now being downloaded less frequently than it has been in over a decade, following an abrupt rebrand and an escalation of controversy spearheaded by its owner, Elon Musk.
According to data from app performance tracker Apptopia, the app’s downloads have dropped by nearly 30% since the beginning of July compared to the previous two months. That was also the month Musk decided to rename the company X, defying conventional branding wisdom and CEO Linda Yaccarino’s wishes. Downloads are down 18% compared to the same period last year, just prior to Musk’s $44 billion takeover.
It’s the lowest level of interest in the app since it went public in 2013. According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Twitter has gained 15 million to 30 million users per month on average since 2011. Between August and September of this year, it gained only 10 million users.
According to Apptopia, downloads of the app fell in nearly every country where Twitter, or X, is available, including its biggest markets like the US, UK, and Japan. According to Similarweb, visits to the web version of X, which still operates as twitter.com, have fallen since the beginning of the year, with global web traffic down 10% in August and US traffic down 15% compared to a year ago.
Daily and monthly app usage has also decreased, with millions fewer people opening the app on a regular basis. So far in September, daily users have dropped to 249 million, a 2% decrease from July’s total of nearly 253 million. Monthly users have fallen by roughly the same percentage, to 393 million from 398 million in July.
Musk has stated that he expects Twitter to have 1 billion monthly users by 2024. To achieve that goal, he will need to nearly triple the number of monthly users in the next few months. More recently, the billionaire admitted that the company “may fail.”
Downloads and usage increased after Musk took over the app last October, after remaining relatively flat in the months between his offer to buy the company in April and the deal officially closing in late October. Early this year, usage fell to around 249 million users per day. Although usage began to increase again in April, daily and monthly users have been steadily decreasing since late May, when daily users peaked at 252 million, according to Apptopia data.
Musk has drastically reduced staff since taking over, including further layoffs this week to X’s trust and safety team, leaving only a few such employees to oversee content at the company, according to a person familiar with the company who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. Meanwhile, advertisers continue to avoid X, causing its business to suffer.
The apparent drop in downloads corresponds with Musk’s ongoing changes and political use of the app. Most days, Musk himself becomes a trending topic on X, turning it into more of a platform about its billionaire owner than a place to keep up with the day’s events or broad public discourse.
Musk has reveled in spreading false information, oversaw and permitted an increase in antisemitic commentary, and changed the algorithm to prioritize posts and comments from paid subscribers over all others. In turn, Musk has chastised and sued third parties who have been critical of how the site has changed under his leadership.
A spokesperson for X did not respond to a request for comment. The company’s media contact line received an automated response that said, “Busy now, please check back later.”