Elon Musk becomes Twitter’s most followed person

Billionaire’s personal popularity has been one of his central preoccupations during time running Twitter – and he has finally overtaken Barack Obama

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 30 March 2023 18:18 BST
Comments
<p>Elon Musk has written the letter with other industry leaders (Brian Lawless/PA)</p>

Elon Musk has written the letter with other industry leaders (Brian Lawless/PA)

Elon Musk is now Twitter’s most popular person – at least in one sense.

The Twitter owner and chief executive is now the most followed person on the site.

His 133 million followers means he has dethroned Barack Obama at the top of Twitter, as of Thursday.

The historic moment was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, which noted that roughly 30 per cent of active Twitter users appear to be following Mr Musk’s account.

It is the second major Twitter-related record for Mr Musk in 2023. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Guinness World Record for the largest loss of personal fortune in history, after the value of Twitter plunged in the wake of his leadership.

The visibility and popularity of Mr Musk’s personal account has seemingly been one of his preoccupations since he was forced to buy Twitter, late last year. Even before he owned the site, he had been a prolific user – but that has increased in the months since he bought the platform for $44 billion.

Since he bought Twitter, he has been posting an average of more than 25 posts each day. Some days see many more posts from Mr Musk’s account, many of which appear aimed at boosting revenues for Twitter itself.

At times, Mr Musk has appeared to use his ownership of the platform to boost his own tweets. In the wake of the Super Bowl, amid rumours that he was upset his own post about the event had been shared fewer times than Joe Biden’s, he was reported to have instructed engineers to boost his own posts in people’s feeds.

That resulted in tweets from Mr Musk flooding into people’s timelines – even if they had never followed or interacted with Mr Musk before.

He was also reported to have fired an engineer who suggested that Mr Musk’s posts were getting less engagement because interest in him was declining.

The title of most-followed account has changed hands a number of times in the time since Twitter was founded. It was initially held by Ashton Kutcher – who took the record for first account to get one million followers – and has since been traded between Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

Barack Obama then became the most-followed account in 2020, and has held the title until this week.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in