Elon Musk boasted that his rebranded site X has hit its highest user totals – as rival Mark Zuckerberg scrambles to add new features to halt the massive dropoff in interest in his “Twitter-killer” app.
Musk, who acquired the app formerly known as Twitter for $44 billion last fall, posted a graph on Friday which claimed that X had 541,562,214 monthly users in July.
“Also, this is after removal of a vast number of bots,” Musk wrote in the same thread.
The bot issue was a major sticking point before Musk forked over $44 billion for the social media platform. The previous regime had used a different metric — monetizable daily active users — to gauge user numbers.
In its last public filing last spring, Twitter reported it had 237.8 million MDA users. Musk had claimed that as many as 20% of those were bots during his failed bid to scuttle the deal.
Musk’s boast of record-high usage follows a report earlier this month from data company Similarweb that showed Twitter’s traffic had dipped by some 11% after Zuckerberg launched Threads on July 5.
More than 100 million users downloaded the Instagram-linked app in the week that followed the highly publicized launch. However, the Meta CEO’s purported “Twitter-killer” app has seen usage plummet by more than half because of a lack of features.
“Obviously, if you have more than 100 million people sign up, ideally it would be awesome if all of them or even half of them stuck around. We’re not there yet,” Zuckerberg said.
In order to keep users on Threads, Meta is looking to add more “retention-driving hooks” such as “making sure people who are on the Instagram app can see important Threads,” said Chris Cox, Meta’s chief product officer.
Zuckerberg said he considered the drop-off “normal” and expected retention to grow as the company adds more features to the app, including a desktop version and search functionality.
Musk has overhauled the social media app since acquiring it in a highly leveraged deal in October.
The self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” scrapped the previous management’s content moderation guidelines and restored the accounts of former President Donald Trump, the satirical news site “Babylon Bee,” and other voices critical of COVID lockdown measures and vaccines.
Musk also installed former NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO.
Yaccarino was hired by Musk with a mandate to woo back advertisers who were put off by Musk’s freewheeling management of the site.
His rebrand last week to X angered many of the site’s users, including novelist Stephen King, who decried Musk ditching the iconic blue Twitter bird.
The change prompted users to joke that they could not distinguish the site’s logo from the same ones used by pornographic web pages.