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Is Twitter a far-right platform now?

The news: Displaced far-right US media personalities and politicians are increasingly taking to Twitter.

  • After several technical glitches, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he is running for president on Twitter Spaces last Wednesday.
  • Former Fox News TV host Tucker Carlson, who was fired on April 28, has said he’s launching a show on the platform.
  • The Daily Wire, a conservative media outlet that was de-monetized by YouTube over comments about transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, will soon put its podcasts on Twitter.

The big question: Do their endorsements of Twitter reflect the ideologies of Twitter users?

By the numbers: Democrats are leading Twitter’s user decline, but there were still more left-wing and independent voters than Republicans on Twitter as of January 2023, per the COVID States Project.

  • The share of self-reported US Democrats who use Twitter declined from 38% in October 2022 (prior to Musk’s takeover) to 33% in January 2023.
  • There was a statistically insignificant decline in self-reported Republicans and independents using the platform during that time frame.

Yes, but: The share of Republicans who used Twitter for political news increased from 10% to 14% between October 2022 and January 2023.

What it means: While Musk is sympathetic to the far-right, a large portion of Twitter users aren’t. The same can’t be said about Parler or Truth Social. So, while Twitter may look and feel like a far-right platform, it isn’t in user makeup—yet.

  • Musk’s “free speech” message is resonating with far-right news organizations and parts of the GOP, and Twitter will play an increasing role in their strategies.
  • Twitter’s amplification of far-right political views, conspiracy theories, and other controversial content is fueling engagement among a specific part of the user base. The arrival of more far-right voices, including the potential return of former President Donald Trump, combined with the departure of news organizations like PBS and NPR, will exacerbate that.
  • That could lead to further declines in left-wing, independent, and moderate Republican Twitter users, skewing Twitter’s user makeup more toward the far-right.

The final say: Perception equals reality on social media. And with Musk continuing to use the platform to perpetuate his own ideology, it’s hard to imagine that liberal and moderate voices on Twitter will get the same airtime as those that align with Musk’s political views. That will make it increasingly difficult for Twitter to bring back advertisers and turn its ad business around, even with former NBCUniversal ad exec Linda Yaccarino as CEO.

Go further: For more on Yaccarino’s chances of success as Twitter’s CEO, read our report “Must-Do’s for Twitter’s New CEO: 3 Things That Should Be on Linda Yaccarino’s Priority List.”