‘Tucker on Twitter’ tweet views dipping

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Tucker Carlson’s Twitter videos have been posting declines in viewership.

Carlson, who was fired by Fox’s conservative commentary channel April 24, 2023, has since taken to the Elon Musk-owned social media platform to post “Tucker on Twitter,” where he discusses various issues of the day.

Twitter doesn’t release full data on video viewership statistics, but it does provide a number of post views on each tweet, a change Musk initiated after buying the service.

That public figure almost certainly does not mean that all number of tweet viewers watched the video attached to at. It likely also fails to account for repeat watches and doesn’t provide insight into how much of the video was watched, if any.

Even the figure of tweet views is likely slightly misleading because it reportedly counts the number of times the tweet was displayed in someone’s feed — but does not mean the person stopped to read the content, much less watch the video.

Video counts were once featured on the platform but were removed by Musk.

According to an analysis by Media Matters for America’s Matthew Gertz, his initial announcement of the series racked up 137.1 million tweet views. That dipped to 120 million for the tweet linked to the first episode. He lost nearly half of his views for Episode 2, coming in at 60.6 million.

He bounced back up for Episode 3, which corresponded with Donald Trump’s indictment. Numbers were down to 32.4 million for Episode 4 and 17.3 million for Episode 5. There was another uptick for Episode 6, which registered 32 million tweet views, but numbers have been drastically dropping since then.

Carlson again lost about half of the views for Episode 7’s tweet, which has 15.5 million. Episode 8 hit an all-time low for the effort, coming in at 8.6 million as of the analysis.

It is possible that some of his early tweets are benefiting from having been online for a longer period of time. The longer a tweet remains online, it can rack up more views as it is re-shared or appears in searches.

This could mean that later episodes would continue to grow tweet views, which is similar to how TV shows can increase their ratings after an initial airing through DVR and on-demand watchers.

A separate analysis of video view data that still shows up in certain versions of the service’s Android app suggests that video views are as much as 100 million lower than tweet views.

Under Twitter rules, a video is considered “viewed” if at least two seconds of the video play while at least 50% of the video player is visible to a user. For users with auto-play turned on, this could mean that a user scrolling by the clip could be counted as a “view” even if they did not directly interact with the video player — but scrolled by it enough for it to play two seconds while in view.

Carlson is reportedly involved in a legal battle with Fox over the Twitter content.

When he was pulled off the air, Fox opted to keep him under contract, meaning he would receive the full value of the deal and still be bound by any non-compete clauses included in it.

Fox argues that Carlson’s Twitter videos violate the terms of that deal, while his legal team has fired back saying it’s a moot point because Fox allegedly violated the terms of its contract with him after communications from the host appeared in legal proceedings leading up the Dominion Voting Systems trial. Carlson’s team claims that Fox violated a part of the agreement that the network keep certain information about him confidential.

The status of the battle over Carlson’s videos is unclear.

Meanwhile, Musk, who has come under fire for promoting right-wing voices and causes, including reinstating users banned from the platform for spreading false or offensive content, is reportedly looking to boost the platform’s video offerings.

Facebook parent Meta released its Threads social media app, which is linked to Instagram, earlier this month and it has already broken all records for the most-downloaded app. The platform looks and works much like Twitter and is seen as the first viable competitor to it.

Twitter’s overall use, performance and reputation has suffered since Musk took over, including several notable outages and back-and-forth policy changes, including some centered around its controversial verification icons.

It has also lost numerous advertisers eager to distance themselves from Musk and the platform.

These numbers could spell trouble for Twitter as it attempts to remain a viable business even after laying off thousands of its staff when Musk took over.