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Report: 2023 Congress on X

Since Elon Musk bought Twitter in 2022, the multi-billionaire has faced massive scrutiny over his management of the company and his personal behavior on the platform. But that does not appear to be changing social media strategy in Congress.

Download the report to uncover insights like:

  • Who posted almost 8,000 times this year and earned the spot as the most active on X?
  • Why was May the most active month for legislators on X?
  • What policy hashtag showed up most in feeds?
  • Did Chuck Grassley succeed in his New Year’s Resolution of surpassing the “Texas Tweeters” this year?

 

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Twitter, now called X, has always occupied a special place in Congressional communications, used by lawmakers to release statements, highlight achievements and argue with one another over politics and policy. Musk’s ownership begged obvious questions about whether the platform would continue as the lingua franca of Washington. 

To look at Musk’s impact, Quorum reached out to a dozen communications professionals in the House and Senate by email, including both Republicans and Democrats. We offered anonymity in exchange for candor, and found that none said that they have radically altered their practices.

Most reported no change in the way they use X and some said they are using it more. Only one said their office was using it less, citing Musk’s personal political views. Overall, many offices appear to see the platform as a viable—some say even more vital—communications channel.  And the numbers back it up. While posting from campaign accounts is down from 2022 (which is typical for non-election years), posting from legislative accounts increased from 2023. 

“We believe the changes Musk has made at Twitter have been positive and made the platform a beacon for free speech,” wrote one professional in a Republican office. “It is irrelevant whether we agree or disagree with what users say. What matters is that people have unfettered access to the full spectrum of humanity so they can look at all sides of issues, and freely decide what to think for themselves.”

Another staffer in a Republican office wrote, “Our follower count massively increased once Elon took over.”

Democrats similarly reported no major changes in their strategy, describing X almost as a necessary evil. “We haven’t changed our Twitter habits, as we still see it as a primary driver of engagement,” wrote one staffer in a Democratic office. “Nevertheless, our audience feels more conservative there, and we joined Threads, where our audience leans left. I’m not a fan of Elon Musk’s management of the platform or personal views, but it would be a mistake to not engage on Twitter as a platform.”

Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and is listed in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as the world’s wealthiest man, has made many headlines since acquiring X. He has announced thousands of layoffs, initiated a controversial rebrand, suspended journalists and reinstated banned accounts on the platform, including Donald Trump, whose account was barred after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Most recently, roughly 200 advertisers stopped spending on X after Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory on the platform. While Musk later apologized and made a visit to Israel, he has been critical of advertisers that have frozen spending, accusing them of “blackmail.”

But for now, Congress appears willing to stick with the platform, even if some disagree with its owner. As one Democratic staffer put it, “We find it to be a necessary evil since Elon took over.”

Curious How We Created This Report?

We used Quorum Federal to analyze hundreds of thousands posts made by members of the 118th Congress on X in 2023. Learn how you can discover similar insights with Quorum.