Elon Musk Learned A Basic Fact About Twitter After The Platform He Owns Fact-Checked Him

After accidentally revealing he doesn't know the basics, he deleted the tweet.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

An illustration of Elon Musk.
Maybe check out this sort of stuff before you spend $42 billion. Image credit: Wirestock Creators/,

There are good times to learn basic information about a potential purchase (ideally before any money changes hands), and then there's three weeks after the sale has gone through, on the platform which you have just bought.

Yesterday, Elon Musk logged on to the site he spent $44 billion on to reveal that he doesn't know the levels of traffic (clicks through to a link, e.g. an article or blog post) that the website provides. Bloomberg writer Ashlee Vance wrote "it is really weird how Twitter drives so few clicks," before Musk jumped in to "correct" her with his own incorrect information.


"Twitter drives a massive number of clicks to other websites/apps," Musk replied in a now-deleted tweet. "Biggest click driver on the Internet by far."

The problem is that this is far from the truth, with the platform actually providing referral traffic on par with Pinterest, according to the available data from web analytics service Statcounter. Users quickly corrected him.

Embarrassing as that mistake might be, it became worse when Twitter added a panel to his tweet, explaining that "readers added context they thought people might want to know", essentially introduced as a community fact-checking feature before Musk took over. 

The post linked to a report on social media referrals on the site Data Reportal, which explained that the big driver of social traffic (as anyone who has worked in social media for a few weeks will know) remains Facebook.


"Figures from Statcounter reveal that – outside of China – Facebook drives roughly three-quarters (74 percent) of global social media website referrals," the site explains. "Interestingly, Statcounter reports that Twitter and Pinterest come next in the rankings, with both platforms responsible for roughly 7.7 percent of total social media referrals."

Though Twitter came second according to the report, Facebook is clearly the biggest click driver on the Internet by far, with nearly ten times the traffic that Twitter provides.

Eventually, Musk deleted the tweet without explanation, before learning his lesson and checking he'd got his facts right next time annoying engineers with a tweet about slow load times, dubbed nonsensical by former Twitter workers and outsiders with expertise in the area.

"This is such a Rorschach test of a tweet," senior cybersecurity fellow at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin Matt Tait wrote on Twitter.

"Non technical folks look at it and see 'oh wow, technical words and numbers, that must mean he's so technical'. Technical folks look at it and say "'ok, that's BS, if it were 1,000 RPCs on load, the home screen would take minutes to load" and maybe immediately go check to see that, yes, the number is much smaller."

Another user added, less charitably, "I’d like to apologize for twitter being super slow in many countries. The brofabulator got disconnected from the hypermalacronker and is doing > 1,000 grackenschnickels just to render a honkuplex."


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