Celebrities with tens of millions of followers on Twitter are increasingly avoiding the social network, put off by trolls and politically charged mobs that put them at greater risk of being “canceled,” according to their handlers.
“There are so many ways to get canceled now,” one publicist who works for several Hollywood star actors and filmmakers told the paper when asked what they say to their clients.
“Do you really want to give the world another way?”
The publicist told the Washington Post that they advise clients to stay away from Twitter because there’s little opportunity to “positively engage with fans.”
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is in the process of acquiring Twitter for $44 billion. Last month, he commented that most of the Twitter users who have the highest number of followers rarely tweet.
Analytics firm Social Blade found that the 10 most-followed Twitter accounts — besides Musk himself — posted 35% fewer tweets so far this year than during the same period four years earlier.
Musk and Barack Obama, who has the most Twitter followers with 131.4 million, are the only ones among the top 10 who have posted more than two tweets this year.
Other celebrities with massive Twitter followers including Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift have significantly scaled back their tweeting.
These stars use the platform to post noncontroversial tweets that promote an appearance.
Other A-listers like Lizzo and Ariana Grande have left Twitter altogether.
Handlers to the stars say that Twitter has become a venue for harassment and abuse, and that it is easy for celebs to get drawn into controversy and risk doing damage to their brand.
“Twitter has become a breeding ground for trolls,” Dolly Meckler, a social media consultant who runs a celebrity account, told the paper.
“People can talk back in a way they can’t on other platforms. Celebrities that I’ve spoken to have said that it doesn’t feel like a friendly place.”
According to the Washington Post, celebrities abandoned Twitter in favor of Instagram and TikTok, which offer a more visual medium that allows them to more comfortably flaunt their appeal to fans while also instituting tighter restrictions on user comments.
“The Kardashians aren’t getting paid a million dollars for a sponsored tweet,” Kendall Ostrow, a celebrity social media consultant, told the Washington Post.
“Twitter might be able to make you culturally relevant, but Instagram, YouTube and TikTok get you paid.”
Musk has vowed to remove restrictions on content once he takes over Twitter. Observers say that makes it less likely that high-profile celebrities will come back to the site.
“Twitter is the last place I’d tell a celebrity to invest in, even more than before,” said Liz Stahl, a social agency head who has worked with Grande and Jay-Z.
“Everything with Elon Musk is going to be complicated — even more given the kind of people who are going to be activated and excited to be on there.”