The SpaceX and Tesla chief surged to the top spot months after buying Twitter in a multi-billion dollar deal
Twitter owner and chief executive Elon Musk spoofed former US President Barack Obama as the most followed person on the social media platform when he reached an estimated 133.08 million followers on Thursday.
Musk’s total puts him narrowly ahead of Obama, who has about 133.04 million Twitter followers, also on Thursday. The pair are both comfortably ahead of third-placed Justin Bieber, with the pop star amassing 113.4 million followers. Other musicians like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Taylor Swift, as well as football star Cristiano Ronaldo, are also represented in the top ten.
Musk broke the 100 million barrier for the first time last June, months after first announcing the prospect of buying the company in April 2022.
Another former US president, Donald Trump, currently ranks ninth in the list of subscribers with 87.3 million – some 26 million behind Musk and Obama. Trump has not posted on Twitter since January 2021, when he was banned from the platform in the days following the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol in Washington DC.
He was reinstated on Twitter in November after Musk took over the social media company, although he has yet to post a single tweet, preferring to post his thoughts on his Truth Social platform instead.
Musk’s rise to become Twitter’s most followed figure comes after he acquired the company for $44 billion in October. Under his leadership, the platform has introduced a series of changes to the social network in an effort to increase revenue – such as the introduction of paid verification – that have occurred alongside widespread reductions in its global workforce. Those layoffs have been mirrored at several other Big Tech companies in recent months.
Twitter announced last week that it would end its “legacy verification program” on April 1. Under its former owner, some prominent accounts – including those of politicians and journalists – were given a free blue tick to distinguish them from fraudulent or satirical accounts. , provided they meet certain criteria. Starting Saturday, users will need to pay at least $8 per month to maintain their verified status.