According to internal documents obtained by Reuters, social media giant Twitter is facing a significant challenge in retaining its most active users. These documents reveal a decline in what the company refers to as “heavy tweeters,” who make up less than 10% of monthly users but are responsible for 90% of all tweets and half of the global revenue. This ongoing decline has been particularly concerning, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk moves closer to finalizing a deal to acquire Twitter for a staggering $44 billion.

The term “heavy tweeter” characterizes users who log in to Twitter six or seven days a week and tweet at least three to four times weekly. The internal research also discovered a shift in interests among Twitter’s most active English-speaking users over the past couple of years. Cryptocurrency and “not safe for work” (NSFW) content, which includes nudity and pornography, have experienced significant growth in interest. Conversely, topics such as news, sports, and entertainment have witnessed a decline in user interest. This change in user preferences poses a challenge for advertisers, as tweets related to news, sports, and entertainment are the most desirable for advertisement purposes.

While Twitter has refrained from providing specific figures about English-speaking users or revenue, analysts believe this demographic is pivotal to the platform’s business. During the fourth quarter, Twitter generated more ad revenue from the United States alone than from all other markets combined. Since most ads in the United States are likely targeting English-speaking users, any decline in this demographic would undoubtedly impact Twitter’s advertising revenue significantly.

The study conducted by Twitter aimed to comprehend why heavy users of the platform are declining and to uncover any trends that may have been overshadowed by overall growth in daily active users. Unfortunately, the study did not offer any conclusive findings in regard to the decline in heavy users.

One noteworthy finding from the research is the increasing interest in NSFW content and cryptocurrencies among Twitter’s most active English-speaking users. As one of the few major social media platforms that permits nudity on its service, Twitter estimated that adult content makes up approximately 13% of its platform. However, advertisers typically steer clear of controversial or explicit content to safeguard their brands. Twitter has faced criticism in the past for its handling of adult content and has committed to investing more resources into combating child pornography.

Another concerning trend highlighted in the internal documents is the waning interest of Twitter’s most active English-speaking users in subjects such as world news, liberal politics, fashion, and celebrities. These users are reportedly flocking to rival platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Even e-sports and online streaming personalities, which were previously thriving on Twitter, are now witnessing a decline in user interest.

The combination of these trends poses questions regarding Twitter’s growth trajectory and its alignment with user interests. As Elon Musk’s deadline for acquiring Twitter draws nearer, addressing these challenges will be crucial to ensuring the platform’s long-term success and relevance.

Useful links:

1. Relevant link 1: Twitter Explores Tipping Journalists Through Bitcoin
2. Relevant link 2: Twitter Plans to Tip Journalists to Compete with Newsletters