Tracking Declining Activity on Twitter

While some accounts stopped posting around the middle of November, suggesting it was in response to antisemitism, quite a few accounts seemed to be pulling back earlier. Many have settled into a pattern of forgoing original posts and only responding to customer concerns.

social media
digital policy
report
Author
Affiliation

Information Epidemiology Lab

Published

November 25, 2023

To see a more recent report visit: UPDATE.

Observations

  • Many influential accounts have reduced or ceased their activity on Twitter recently. While there were accounts that stopped around the middle of November, suggesting it was in response to antisemitism on Twitter, some accounts seemed to be pulling back earlier.

  • At the same time, many accounts continue posting actively. While these data are not representative, it seems like large newsrooms remain active for now, and industries that move at a slower pace may be reconsidering their presence on the platform. Media across the political spectrum–MSNBC, AP, Fox News, The New York Times, and more–were still active.

  • Despite not posting new content, some companies continue to respond to customer inquiries. In some cases, it is understandable, given that their customer inquiries may involve things such as prescriptions and missed flights. This also makes the shift in behavior more definitive. Someone is still accessing the account but is no longer posting original tweets.

  • Several accounts, including major ones like Best Buy, Folgers, and Sephora, have ceased posting original content for over six months but continue to engage with customers. Some accounts that stopped posting did so without fanfare, meaning their decline in activity may not be well known. Examples of accounts in this group include LinkedIn, Walgreens, and The North Face.

  • Within a single industry, there is a lot of variation. Even within a single company or a cluster of companies owned by the same parent, the posting behavior was not always the same. Meta stopped posting original tweets weeks ago, while Instagram was categorized as “Active.”

Limitations and Interpreting Results

The Numbers

To analyze the percentage of active accounts, we will look at the number of active accounts as well as those with varying degrees of inactivity. The “Last Activity” column categorizes account activity with various labels such as ‘1-Active’, ‘2-Not in last week’, ‘3-Not in last month’, ‘4-Not in three months’, ‘5-Not in six months’, and some combinations with additional notes like ‘Still responds to customers’ or ‘Retweeting but no original posts’.

We’ll consider accounts labeled ‘1-Active’ as active and calculate the total number of accounts and the number of accounts marked ‘1-Active’, and then compute the percentage of active accounts. Out of the total 119 accounts in the dataset, 60 accounts are categorized as ‘1-Active’. This means that approximately 50.42% of the accounts in this dataset are considered active.

\[ \frac{60}{119} \times 100 = 50.42\% \]

The total number of accounts that have been inactive for over a month is 21 and the total that have been inactive for over a week (which includes those inactive for over a month) is 58.

\[\frac{21}{119} \times 100 \approx 17.65\%\]

\[\frac{59}{119} \times 100 \approx 48.74\%\]

If we look at those that have been inactive for over one month, 17.65% of the influential accounts are inactive. If we include the group that has been inactive for over a week–a group much more likely to resume posting, as some may only post once a week–then the number of influential accounts that have become inactive rises to 48.74%.

The Limitations

We began by checking accounts in a post claiming the listed users had stopped posting on Twitter. From there, we examined influential accounts across industries as suggested by the Twitter algorithm.

For certain industries, we examined those that were emblematic of their industry, which is unfortunately a subjective method. This could have been improved by gathering longitudinal data that shows a random sample of companies’ behavior over time.

Given the limitations of the study, which began in response to a viral post claiming specific accounts had stopped posting on Twitter, there is a selection bias toward accounts that were not posting. This can create a bias akin to that which we see in infectious disease epidemiology.

In an early outbreak, there is a bias toward extreme and symptomatic cases because people who don’t know they’re infected or who have mild cases aren’t being counted at hospitals or in their doctor’s office. Thus, we view the death rate estimation in an early outbreak as potentially if not certainly inflated. The same may be true here.

What does that mean for the Twitter data?

  • The percentage of major companies that are leaving is probably lower than these data present.

  • Major advertisers have pulled advertising and many also appear to have scaled back or stopped posting to the platform, which further underscores their declining relationship with Twitter.

  • There is no industry consensus except in major news media companies where there appears to be a consensus that they are staying active, and this was true across the political spectrum.

Account Activity

Accounts Not Posting in Over a Week

  • Lady Gaga: Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) has not posted on Twitter since November 10, 2023.

  • DC: DC (@DCOfficial) last tweeted on November 12, 2023.

  • Taylor Swift: Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) has been inactive on Twitter since November 13, 2023.

  • Adobe: Adobe (@Adobe) has not posted new content since November 15, 2023.

  • Disney: Disney (@Disney) last updated their Twitter on November 16, 2023.

  • Dogecoin: Dogecoin (@dogecoin) has not tweeted since November 16, 2023.

  • Visa: Visa (@Visa) last posted on Twitter on November 16, 2023.

  • The Home Depot: The Home Depot (@HomeDepot) has been inactive on Twitter since November 16, 2023.

  • Android: Android (@Android) has not posted since November 16, 2023.

  • Pfizer Inc.: Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) last updated their Twitter on November 16, 2023.

  • Lionsgate: Lionsgate (@Lionsgate) has not tweeted since November 16, 2023.

  • National Geographic: National Geographic (@NatGeo) last posted on Twitter on November 17, 2023.

  • Marvel Entertainment: Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) has been inactive since November 17, 2023.

  • Avengers: Avengers (@Avengers) last updated their Twitter on November 17, 2023.

  • Warner Bros. Discovery: Warner Bros. Discovery (@wbd) has not tweeted since November 17, 2023.

  • Pixar: Pixar (@pixar) last posted on Twitter on November 17, 2023.

  • MGM Studios: MGM Studios (@mgmstudios) has not posted on Twitter since November 17, 2023.

  • Walt Disney Studios: Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) last tweeted on November 17, 2023.

  • Sony Pictures: Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) has been inactive since November 17, 2023.

  • The Boeing Company: The Boeing Company (@Boeing) last updated Twitter on November 17, 2023.

  • The Late Show: The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) has not posted since November 17, 2023.

  • CBS: CBS (@CBS) last tweeted on November 17, 2023.

  • Universal Pictures: Universal Pictures (@UniversalPics) has not been active since November 16, 2023.

  • 20th Century Studios: 20th Century Studios (@20thcentury) has not tweeted since November 17, 2023.

  • Electronic Arts: Electronic Arts (@EA) last posted on Twitter on November 17, 2023.

  • Microsoft: Microsoft (@Microsoft) has been inactive since November 17, 2023.

Accounts Not Posting in Over a Week But Responding to Customers

  • TD Ameritrade: TD Ameritrade (@TDAmeritrade) has not published original posts since November 5, 2023, but is still engaging with its customers and retweeting content.

  • CVS Pharmacy: CVS Pharmacy (@cvspharmacy) hasn’t posted since November 9, 2023, but is still actively responding to customer inquiries.

  • McDonald’s: McDonald’s (@McDonalds) has not posted new content since November 14, 2023, but continues to engage with customers.

  • Etsy: Etsy (@Etsy) last tweeted on November 14, 2023, and is still responsive to customer service issues.

  • IBM: IBM (@IBM) has been inactive in terms of posts since November 15, 2023, but remains active in customer communications.

  • Wendy’s: Wendy’s (@Wendys) hasn’t tweeted original content since November 15, 2023, but is still addressing customer concerns.

  • Comcast: Comcast (@comcast) last tweeted on November 16, 2023, and continues to reply to customer service queries.

  • Procter & Gamble: Procter & Gamble (@ProcterGamble) hasn’t posted since November 16, 2023, but is actively replying to customers.

  • United Airlines: United Airlines (@United) last updated its Twitter on November 17, 2023, and is responsive to customer service issues that are potentially serious and costly.

  • Hilton: Hilton (@Hilton) has not posted any new tweets since November 17, 2023, but remains active in customer support interactions.

  • Ford Motor Company: Ford Motor Company (@Ford) last posted on November 11, 2023, yet continues to respond to customer inquiries.

Accounts Not Posting in Over a Week But Still Retweeting

  • HBO: HBO (@HBO) hasn’t posted any original tweets since November 15, 2023, though they have been retweeting.

Accounts Not Posting in Over a Month

  • Selena Gomez: Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) has not posted on Twitter in the past month, with her last tweet dating back to September 21, 2023.

  • Bill Gates: Bill Gates (@BillGates) has also been inactive on Twitter for the past month, with his last post on October 6, 2023.

  • Facebook: Facebook (@facebook) has not shared any new content on Twitter in the past month, with their last tweet on October 18, 2023.

Accounts Responding to Customers but Not Posting in the Last Month

  • Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) has not published an original tweet since September 12, 2023, but continues to respond to customer inquiries.

  • Panera Bread: Panera Bread (@panerabread) last posted over a month ago, on September 25, 2023, and is still engaging with customers.

  • Starbucks: Starbucks (@Starbucks) has not tweeted any new content since October 12, 2023, but remains active in handling customer service issues.

  • Mastercard: Mastercard (@Mastercard) last updated their account on October 5, 2023, and continues to provide customer support.

Accounts Not Posting in Over Three Months

  • Meta: Meta (@Meta) has not been active on Twitter for the past three months, with their last post dated July 18, 2023. They have not replied since October.

Accounts Not Posting in Over Six Months

  • Target: Target (@Target) has neither tweeted nor replied to customers in the past six months, with their last activity dated October 31, 2022.

  • NPR: NPR (@NPR) has not posted any new content on Twitter for over six months, with their latest tweet being from April 12, 2023.

  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn (@LinkedIn) has been inactive for over six months as of their last tweet on May 22, 2023, and they ceased replying to customer inquiries in October. Activity status is based on the date of the last tweet, as the account has not been active in customer engagement since then.

Accounts Not Posting in Over Six Months But Still Responding to Customers

  • The North Face: The North Face (@thenorthface) has not posted original content since October 28, 2022, but is still actively responding to customers.

  • Folgers: Folgers (@Folgers) has been inactive in terms of original posts for over six months, with their last tweet on October 31, 2022, but they continue to provide customer service.

  • Sephora: Sephora (@Sephora) last tweeted on November 2, 2022, and remains responsive to customer interactions.

  • Macy’s: Macy’s (@Macys) has not posted since November 10, 2022, yet they still engage with and respond to customer inquiries.

  • Chick-fil-A, Inc.: Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) last updated their account on November 17, 2022, but has remained active in customer communications.

  • Best Buy: Best Buy (@BestBuy) stopped posting original tweets on November 18, 2022, but continues to reply to customers.

  • Walgreens: Walgreens (@Walgreens) has not made original posts since March 6, 2023, but still responds to customer complaints, some of which concern critical issues such as prescriptions.

Accounts Not Posting in the Last Six Months but Still Retweet

  • General Motors: General Motors (@GM) hasn’t posted any original tweets for over six months, yet the company is still actively responding to customer inquiries and retweeting content.

  • Warner Bros.: Warner Bros. (@warnerbros) has not posted original content for over six months since April 4, 2023, but continues to retweet.

Account Remaining Active

  • Yahoo: Yahoo (@Yahoo) updated their Twitter feed on November 24, 2023.

  • Barack Obama: Barack Obama (@BarackObama) last tweeted on November 19, 2023.

  • Instagram: Instagram (@instagram) was active on Twitter on November 20, 2023.

  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) shared a tweet on November 20, 2023.

  • ExxonMobil: ExxonMobil (@exxonmobil) last updated their Twitter status on November 20, 2023.

  • Paramount Pictures: Paramount Pictures (@ParamountPics) posted on Twitter on November 20, 2023.

  • Tucker Carlson: Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) was active with a tweet on November 21, 2023.

  • Pepsi: Pepsi (@pepsi) last tweeted on November 21, 2023.

  • Delta: Delta (@Delta) posted on Twitter on November 21, 2023.

  • State Farm: State Farm (@StateFarm) last posted on November 21, 2023.

  • Merck: Merck (@Merck) last updated their Twitter feed on November 21, 2023.

  • Apple News: Apple News (@AppleNews) was active on Twitter on November 21, 2023.

  • NASA: NASA (@NASA) tweeted its latest on November 24, 2023.

  • NBCUniversal: NBCUniversal (@NBCUniversal) updated its Twitter status on November 22, 2023.

  • Sony: Sony (@Sony) last posted on November 24, 2023.

  • SpaceX: SpaceX (@SpaceX) was active with a tweet on November 22, 2023.

  • Frito-Lay: Frito-Lay (@Fritolay) posted its latest update on Twitter on November 24, 2023.

  • General Electric: General Electric (@generalelectric) last tweeted on November 22, 2023.

  • Georgia-Pacific: Georgia-Pacific (@GeorgiaPacific) was active on Twitter without a verification check on November 22.

  • Kim Kardashian: Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) updated her Twitter feed on November 24, 2023.

  • KATY PERRY: KATY PERRY (@katyperry) last posted on Twitter on November 22, 2023.

  • The Wall Street Journal: The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) was active on Twitter on November 24, 2023.

  • CNN: CNN (@CNN) remains active as of November 24, 2023.

  • The New York Times: The New York Times (@nytimes) last tweeted on November 24, 2023.

  • Google: Google (@Google) updated its Twitter status on November 22, 2023.

  • YouTube: YouTube (@YouTube) posted its latest on November 24, 2023.

  • The Associated Press: The Associated Press (@AP) tweeted on November 24, 2023.

  • POLITICO: POLITICO (@politico) updated their feed on Twitter on November 24, 2023.

How to Read the Data

To interpret the dataset accurately, it’s crucial to be familiar with two key terms: Last Tweet Date and Last Activity.

To submit data for an account to the database, fill out the form. The account must belong to or represent a public figure under United States law or a large organization like a Fortune 500 company or a major newsroom.
  • Last Tweet Date: This indicates when the last original tweet was posted, excluding any replies or retweets.

  • Last Activity: This refers to a classification determined by the Last Tweet Date. The categorization breaks down accounts into the following groups: inactive in the past week, inactive in the past month, inactive in the past three months, and accounts that have not posted an original tweet in over six months.

We also noted whether accounts were still responding to customers or retweeting under Last Activity. In some cases, additional commentary was recorded under the Notes section.

An Example Case

We will look at LinkedIn as an example case to clarify how the classification works. LinkedIn has not posted original tweets in over six months. It stopped responding to customer messages in October. If they were still responding to customers today, LinkedIn would be marked as not posting in over six months and as still responding to customers.

Even though LinkedIn hasn’t closed its account and responded to customers more recently than six months ago, we categorize it based on the lack of original tweets over six months.

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Update Nov 26, 2023 to add more details about interpreting the data.

Citation

BibTeX citation:
@article{infoepi lab2023,
  author = {InfoEpi Lab},
  publisher = {Information Epidemiology Lab},
  title = {Tracking {Declining} {Activity} on {Twitter}},
  journal = {InfoEpi Lab},
  date = {2023-11-25},
  url = {https://infoepi.org/posts/2023/11/25-declining-activity-on-twitter.html},
  langid = {en}
}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
InfoEpi Lab. 2023. “Tracking Declining Activity on Twitter.” InfoEpi Lab, November. https://infoepi.org/posts/2023/11/25-declining-activity-on-twitter.html.