Elon Musk overtakes Obama as most followed Twitter user

By Sanj Atwal
Elon Musk smiling

Elon Musk has now amassed the most followers on Twitter, five months after purchasing the platform for $44 billion (£38.1 billion).

With over 133 million followers, the 51-year-old tech tycoon overtakes former US president Barack Obama, who held the record since 2020.

Twitter has approximately 450 million monthly active users, meaning around 30% follow Musk.

Musk completed the purchase of Twitter on 27 October 2022, at which time he had 110 million followers, making him the platform’s third-most followed person, behind Justin Bieber and Obama.

He has gained over 23 million more followers since then, whereas Bieber and Obama have actually lost followers due to Musk fans unfollowing them.

Over the last 30 days, Obama has lost 267,585 followers and Bieber has lost 118,950, according to stats tracker Social Blade.

By comparison, Musk has gained over 3 million, averaging over 100,000 new followers per day.

Elon Musk

Musk wasted no time in getting to work after the Twitter takeover was finalized, firing a number of senior executives – including CEO Parag Agrawal - in addition to several thousand staff.

Musk shared his reason for buying the company in an open letter/tweet to “Twitter Advertisers”: “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.”

On 20 December 2022, Musk announced to the world that he would step down as CEO, following a poll in which 57.5% of 17.5 million respondents said he should do so.

However, Musk remains in the role over three months on, having said he would resign once he finds “someone foolish enough to take the job.”

Musk also recently announced that, effective from 15 April, only paying users will be able to vote in polls.

This isn’t Musk’s first Guinness World Records title; earlier this year he was awarded one for the largest loss of personal fortune in history.

Since then, his net worth has increased to $190 billion, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List. However, Musk has not yet recovered the title of world’s richest man, having lost it to Bernard Arnault, owner of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH.

We first began monitoring the record for the most followers on Twitter in 2010. The first record holder was Ashton Kutcher, who received an additional record title for being the first to accumulate one million followers on Twitter.

Later in 2010, Lady Gaga took the top spot, proceeding to battle it out with Bieber for several years before Katy Perry leapfrogged them both in 2014, with a total of 52.4 million followers.

Perry held the record throughout the rest of the decade, becoming the first to accumulate 100 million followers on Twitter in 2017, before being overtaken by Obama in 2020.

Now, three years on, we usher in the Elon era. Will anyone be able to dethrone him?

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