X usage significantly down under Elon Musk

Twitter, now rebranded as X, has seen a sharp decline in global traffic and monthly active users since Elon Musk’s takeover a year ago. His own profile is the only exception to the downward trend.

The global web traffic to X was down 14% in September on a year-over-year basis, according to data from Similarweb. Meanwhile, the combined number of monthly active users of the platform’s iOS and Android apps was down 17.8% in the US.

September traffic in the US, where a quarter of X’s web traffic originates, was down 19%, more than in other major markets such as the UK, France, Germany, and Australia. While not as pronounced, a similar decline was observed in these countries as well.

Traffic to X’s portal for advertisers was down 16.5%, according to Similarweb, suggesting the platform’s continued struggle to win back advertisers who left after Musk bought the company.

When it comes to web and app engagement, X was down on every parameter but traffic to Musk’s own profile, which shot up by 96% in September on a year-over-year basis, according to Similarweb.

“If Elon Musk wanted to build traffic to his social media profile, surely there must have been a cheaper and easier way,” the company said in a blog post, referring to the $44 billion the industry mogul paid for Twitter.

Numbers contradict CEO’s claims

The numbers contradict recent claims by X CEO Linda Yaccarino that users were returning to the platform. According to data from Similarweb, the decline has been steady over the year and is expected to continue.

“Musk’s ongoing feud with the media could cause further deterioration in the utility of X as a news source. Certainly, it has reduced the significance of Twitter as a traffic source for publishers,” it said.

In a series of tweets in June, Yaccarino said she wanted to turn X into the world’s “most accurate real-time information source and a global town square for communication.”

However, her commitment to the platform was recently questioned after it emerged she did not even have an X app on her phone’s home screen – but placed competitors like Instagram and Facebook, as well as the privacy-focused Signal app in prime digital real estate.

Trailing competition

Over the year, Facebook lost 10% in web traffic, so the downward trend is not unique to X. At a combined 8%, Facebook was also second only to X in the number of monthly active users its iOS and Android apps lost in September year-over-year.

Overall, the traffic to the top 100 social networks and communities that Similarweb tracks was down 3.7%. Instagram, another Meta-owned social network, lost 3.7% of its active app users.

None of the major social networks fared as badly as X, however, and TikTok even managed to increase its web traffic and maintain the number of active app users stable, according to Similarweb.

While X continues to be one of the most popular social networks, Facebook is far ahead of any competition when it comes to web traffic. X also trails Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok when it comes to app downloads.

“Nothing Musk has done seems to have translated into lasting improvements to compete better against the social networks that are continuing to grow strongly, such as TikTok, for which global web traffic was up 22.8% in September,” Similarweb said.

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