Twitter users are speculating that the social media company’s new view count feature is false or misleading.
The feature, which was added last week, purportedly shows the total number of views any given tweet received. The user who posted the tweet then can see how many people interacted with the tweet or visited their account from the tweet, features which already existed under Twitter’s analytics. The publicly accessible view count is new, and users are speculating that the views are off.
“I created a locked account with zero followers. I just sent one tweet. Since I have no followers and the account is locked, that tweet should not be visible to anyone. It has 12 views,” one user wrote.
Another user speculated that the view counts could be inflated so that Twitter Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk can show advertisers a heightened number of active users on the platform.
“A common strategy from Republican politicians is to constantly accuse the opposition of using dirty tricks you yourself use,” he wrote. “Would be interesting if Elon is essentially using bots to boost views to suggest to advertisers how engaged an audience Twitter has.”
Twitter didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment sent Tuesday afternoon.
The company’s definition of what counts as a “view” complicates the issue further.
“Anyone who views your Tweet counts as a view, regardless of where they see your Tweet (e.g. Home, Search, Profiles, Tweets embedded in articles, etc.) or whether or not they follow you. Even an author looking at their own Tweet counts as a view,” Twitter’s FAQ page said.
Twitter also said that multiple views can be counted from different access points.
“Multiple views may be counted if you view a Tweet more than once, but not all views are unique. For example, you could look at a Tweet on web and then on your phone, and that would count as two views,” the FAQ page said.
Users on Twitter didn’t buy this explanation.
“Twitter views are MADE UP to trick advertisers,” one user wrote.
“Don’t stress about views on twitter, they’re completely fake,” another wrote.
Musk has had a hard time getting and securing advertisers since he bought Twitter, even penning a letter to advertisers this fall pleading for them to stay on the platform.
Users have been questioning Twitter’s analytics for years, with some claiming numbers could be inflated due to the bots on the platform.
The feature was rolled out last week, but Musk has already shown a willingness to let users turn off view counts on their tweets.