Elon Musk passes Barack Obama to become most followed account on Twitter
Musk has approximately 133.05 million followers, which is more than former President Barack Obama, who has about 133.04 million
Elon Musk is now the most followed person on Twitter.
Musk, who is also the platform’s owner and chief executive, became the most followed account on Thursday evening when he reached approximately 133.05 million followers, passing former President Barack Obama, who has about 133.04 million followers.
Justin Bieber is the third most-followed account with 113.31 million followers. The platform's most popular accounts include Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Cristiano Ronaldo, Donald J. Trump, and Lady Gaga.
Musk’s ascension to the most-followed account can be attributed to how often he tweets — usually several times daily — compared to Obama who tweets several times across a given week and Bieber whose last tweet was in December. It also comes months after he purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022.
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Musk, also the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has been under near-constant criticism since taking over the company due to his decision to lay off most of its staff and his decision to crack down on remote work.
He has also made numerous changes to the platform, sometimes even reverting those changes within minutes, causing some confusion among users.
Musk has also been trying to boost the struggling platform's revenue by pushing Twitter Blue — a monthly subscription service that allows accounts to keep their verification status.
The blue check mark that accompanies many accounts started about 14 years ago as a free service provided to verify politicians, journalists, businesses, activists and people who swiftly rose in popularity.
As Musk has married the service to the monthly payment, many people who are verified have expressed frustration they now need to pay.
"I’ve been here for 15 years giving my (clock emoji) & witty thoughts all for bupkis," William Shatner tweeted. "Now you’re telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free?"
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Monica Lewinsky tweeted a photo of accounts that impersonate her and speculated losing her verification status could result in people believing other accounts — should they pay the fee.
"What universe is this fair to people who can suffer consequences for being impersonated? [A] lie travels halfway around the world before truth even gets out the door," she tweeted.
Musk has repeatedly defended his decision, saying celebrities and members of the media should not be given special favors. "It’s more about treating everyone equally," Musk tweeted Sunday.
The free verification is set to expire on Saturday, which also coincides with April Fool’s Day.
After a user pointed out the date, Musk tweeted Monday: "It will be glorious."
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Musk revealed earlier this week users post about 500 million tweets daily.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.