Elon Musk Twitter account on phone screen with Twitter logo on left

Koshiro K/Shutterstock rvlsoft/Shutterstock (Licensed) by Caterina Cox

‘$11 to be shadowbanned?’: Leading conservatives have already given up on Elon Musk’s Twitter

Everyone is complaining about plummeting engagement.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Jan 18, 2023

Conservative influencers and figureheads were thrilled when Elon Musk bought Twitter. They saw the self-described free speech absolutist as the solution to the censorship woes caused by what they believed was bias against them.

Now the bloom is fading from the billionaire rose. Twitter is rife with complaints about decreased engagement, shadowbanning, and dissatisfaction with the user experience. People across the political spectrum are trashing Musk—including conservatives who once praised him as Twitter’s savior.

“If these liberals don’t like Elon Musk’s Twitter—they need to start their own social media company,” @catturd2 crowed days after he bought the platform.

@REMASCULATE tweeted of the purchase, “Elon Musk is going to make Twitter GREAT again.”

Others celebrated specific tweets and decisions, such as when he fired over half the staff and toyed with the idea of revealing the names of the brands that stopped advertising after he took over. Charlie Kirk wrote of the latter idea, “I support this. Two can play at this game.”

They’ve changed their tune in recent weeks.

Right-wing provocateur Jack Posobiec, who spent much of last fall cheerfully lobbying Musk to do his bidding, complained that adding tweet impression counts “cluttered” the interface. He was also among those bewildered by comedian Norm MacDonald’s account inexplicably losing its verification a few months after his death.

Many are saying that their engagement is down and claim that the platform is purging their followers, shadowbanning them, and blocking them from searches. Shadowbanning refers to a platform showing fewer users an account or its posts.

“I’m not seeing anyone I follow anymore—it’s way worse than before @elonmusk took control,” catturd2 tweeted recently.

“Now it’s $11 to be shadow banned?” failed Republican congressional candidate Jason Nelson complained, “I know we aren’t the only ones noticing.”

Kirk said, “Conservatives all over telling me their Twitter engagement is dead. More suppression?”

But at least on Musk’s Twitter, the problems appear to run both ways.

Leftists are also complaining that they’re getting fewer interactions, losing followers, and being suspended arbitrarily.

Unlike conservatives, while upset, they don’t seem to feel as betrayed because they didn’t have high expectations for Twitter after Musk took over.

And there’s an undeniable vein of schadenfreude running through leftists’ reaction to Musk’s fans turning on him.

@Whatapityonyou commented, “Seeing a lot of crying from the people that insisted Elon ‘fixed’ Twitter.”

“I absolutely love how Elon put everything on the line for the catturd, apologetically replying to their every complaint, yet he still can’t win them over,” tweeted another.

Musk recently addressed the chorus of dissatisfied tweeters.

On Wednesday, he claimed that a recent update to the “For You” algorithm was causing people to see excessive tweets from people they don’t follow, which he said has been reverted.

In response to someone asking why the platform was automatically removing likes and follows, Musk blamed a “[b]rief synchronization lag between our Atlanta & Portland data centers.” He did not say whether this problem will be fixed.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Share this article
*First Published: Jan 18, 2023, 11:34 am CST