YPulse has been keeping you up-to-date on Elon Musk’s back and forth relationship with Twitter since it began. But now that he’s made his ownership official and brought drastic changes to the platform and company with him, some have been speculating that the app is doomed. And in the wake of the chaos, many brands have paused ads on the app. Meanwhile, Musk claims that Twitter signups have reached an all-time high since he acquired the social platform. But so far, YPulse’s data doesn’t indicate an enormous surge in usage among Gen Z and Millennials—though we warned they are not the biggest Twitter fans to begin with. Instead, they seem to be split over whether Musk’s takeover is positive or negative, and many are waiting to see what the ultimate result is before deciding to stop using, or start using, the app.
In our newest Social Media Monitor report, we specifically asked young consumers about Musk’s takeover and how it’s affecting their opinions on and usage of the platform. Using our data from the past year, we can see their Twitter use has changed pretty significantly over the past two years, but not just in recent months:
Twitter use is down among young people—but not unusually low
As of now, 33% of young people are Twitter users—with Millennials (35%) slightly more likely than Gen Z (29%) to use the platform. Obviously, their attention has simply moved elsewhere, for Gen Z especially—69% are TikTok users, compared to 49% of Millennials. But Twitter’s young user base numbers were dwindling long before Elon was in the picture, and they fluctuate often. And only 18% of young people say they use Twitter daily, which is paltry in comparison to each gen’s favorite social platforms 58% of Gen Z use TikTok daily and 56% of Millennials use Facebook daily.
How do they feel about Elon’s takeover?
Upon his first couple of weeks as “Chief Twit,” Musk gave employees an ultimatum: meet his new verification project deadline on November 7th or be fired—and many of them were, while a number have also left on their own accord. And after officially changing the verification process, young people watched as fake verified accounts popped up left and right, causing several brands PR fiascos having to explain why a post that may have contained hate speech was not actually them. Perhaps most significantly, pharmaceutical brand Eli Lilly pulled $330M in advertising from Twitter following a fake, verified tweet, resulting in paid verification being suspended altogether.
As more users began to worry about the future of the app (and make jokes about it of course), the idea of Twitter imploding has been quite emotional for communities who use the app, especially Black Twitter, who have been throwing a virtual funeral for the platform. YPulse asked 13-39-year-olds how they’re feeling about the recent takeover, and our data shows the majority are split between neutral and negative feelings:
The number of young people who think Twitter is worse now that Musk is in charge and those that think it hasn’t made that much of a difference is evenly split. Current users are actually more likely to think that the platform is worse now that Elon is in charge (35%)—meaning their up-to-date experience with the platform is reflecting the change in ownership. But 33% of current Twitter users say they think the platform is better now that he’s in charge, and Twitter’s biggest youth consumers, Millennial males (37% use Twitter), are the most likely to support Musk’s changes(33%).
As sensational as it has been, though, 11% of young people say they weren’t even aware that Musk had bought Twitter. Gen Z females (30% of whom use Twitter) are the most likely to have been unaware of the change (18%). It’s a reminder that the headlines that might be occupying brands and media platforms aren’t always on the radar for young consumers.
How will usership change now that Elon’s in charge?
With Twitter usage already on the decline among young people, the dramatic headlines Musk has inspired indicate both massive jumps in users and massive shifts off the platform. While they haven’t left the platform en masse so far, many young people do indicate that their opinion of Musk is impacting their ultimate decision to stay or go. Knowing that both current users and non-users are just about evenly split on their views on his changes, here’s how their usership could change going forward:
The reality is that current usership among Gen Z and Millennials doesn’t look likely to change, at least not drastically, in either direction; 37% of young people say “I don’t use Twitter and don’t plan to start,” and more than half (57%) of those who don’t currently use Twitter say they have no plans to jump on board now. But 31% say “I’m waiting to see how the platform changes before I decide,” meaning there’s about a third of young people still to be swayed—both users and non. In fact, 42% of young Twitter users haven’t yet made their decision, and 25% of non-users are also waiting it out. And 36% of current users are completely secure telling YPulse they won’t stop using Twitter no matter what.
Though Musk reports Twitter has had millions of new signups since his start as “Chief Twit,” the likelihood of them being from Gen Z and Millennials is slim; only 11% of young people who aren’t currently users say they will / have started using the platform since Musk bought it.
Those who say young people are running from Elon’s Twitter are also not accurate, though: only 7% of young people say will / have stopped using Twitter since Musk bought it. And while many are speculating which app will take off in Twitter’s decline, YPulse data shows no new app has taken a notable jump; even for Mastodon, which has made plenty of headlines in recent weeks touting a million new users, only 1% of Gen Z and Millennials currently report being users.