Elon Musk has generated new interest on Twitter, and you don’t have to take his word for it.

Data from two independent research firms, Apptopia and Sensor Tower, indicates that downloads and activity on Twitter are increasing in the weeks since Musk bought it and compared to last year, which seems to confirm recent bragging from the tech billionaire who has reinvigorated the social media app.

But the situation is more complicated than a simple surge of downloads and activity.

According to Apptopia, Twitter downloads in the US averaged around 125,000 per day over a recent 31-day period, a number that’s 23% higher than the previous month and 42% higher than a similar period of the previous year.

However, growth was slower outside the US, with 14% growth over the prior month and 4% growth over the prior year, Apptopia data showed.

Carolina Milanesi, a consumer technology analyst, said slower growth outside the US may be an indication that people abroad are less interested in the drama surrounding Musk as a public figure.

“If you are in Italy, maybe this is not the most important thing for you,” he said.

Milanesi, president of Creative Strategies, a consulting firm, said the number of users may matter less than their demographics.

“Especially if you want to switch to a paid service, not everyone is going to want or be able to pay $8 a month,” he said, referring to the $7.99 a month Twitter Blue service.

Elon Musk in Washington on March 9, 2020. Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images file

Sensor Tower data on user growth was mixed, showing installs up 16% in Musk’s first month compared to the previous month, but down 3% year-over-year. The two research firms use their own sources and proprietary methods to arrive at their estimates, resulting in some variance.

Sensor Tower also reported a modest increase in overall activity. According to his research, the number of daily active users worldwide on Twitter was 2% higher in the month after Musk’s purchase compared to the month before, and 4% higher than in the same period of the year. previous.

Social media experts said the spark of interest may only be temporary, tied in part to the suspense surrounding Twitter’s future.

“People slow down to see a real-life crash scene, so I think there are a lot of hurdles,” said Matt Navarra, an industry analyst.

Musk, the richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has repeatedly cited internal metrics as evidence of record new user signups and record Twitter activity overall. But those numbers don’t appear to have been audited by outsiders, and Twitter is no longer a public company subject to government. information requirements.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday for more details. Musk bought the company in October for $44 billion and, as CEO, has made sweeping changes, including laying off more than half of his employees, bringing back some previously suspended accounts and easing rules on speech. allowed on the platform.

Mazdak Hashemi, a former vice president of engineering at Twitter, said in a tweet on Sunday that the platform felt more «alive» with Musk in charge, albeit highly rated.

“Increased participation is not always a good thing, especially if the overall quality, safety, and health of the echo system is affected,” he wrote. He did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Musk, who already had a large following when he bought Twitter, has continued to add followers at a rapid pace. He has the second-highest number of followers with 119.5 million as of Tuesday, behind only former President Barack Obama with 133.2 million. Musk is on track to pass Obama in January, experts told the BBC.

Navarra said that people will eventually tire of Musk’s tweets and that Twitter faces a big challenge if it wants to catch up with the mainstream popularity of Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. those apps count your users in the billionswhile Twitter has about 259 million daily users, according to Musk.

“Twitter is an acquired taste,” Navarra said. «It’s always been for a very limited set of use cases, journalism being one, and a lightning rod for whatever’s going on in the world.»

Amid Twitter’s chaotic time, a few other platforms are thriving.

Substack, an app and website for publishing and distributing email newsletters, saw its downloads skyrocket 84% during Twitter’s Musk era, rising to 9,836 per day on average from 5,332 per day on average the previous month, according to Apptopia.

That increase could be due to journalists abandoning Twitter and notifying followers that their newsletter would be their primary channel, said Tara Kirkpatrick, a spokeswoman for Apptopia. But it may be over now, with Substack downloads peaking on November 6, company data showed.

Substack did not immediately respond to a request for comment.