Elon Musk recently highlighted Tucker Carlson's show, claiming that its viewership on the X platform now surpasses the entire population of the United States. Musk’s post seemed aimed at enticing advertisers and creators to consider X as a viable platform for their content, citing the enormous viewership numbers as proof of its reach.
The September 17th post from Musk read: "For those considering putting their work on the X platform, consider that Tucker Carlson's show when he was on TV, had single digit million viewers. Strong by legacy news standards. Views for his episodes on X now exceed the population of the United States."
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The current population of the United States is estimated at over 340 million.
But are these viewer numbers Musk is claiming as straightforward as they seem?
To understand the context, it’s important to clarify what constitutes a “view” on different platforms. On X, a view is counted if someone sees 50% of the video for at least two seconds. In contrast, YouTube counts a view when a user actively initiates a video and watches for at least 30 seconds. This reveals an important point: not all views are created equal, and they aren’t directly comparable across platforms.
In 2022, Tucker Carlson’s show on FOX averaged around 3.3 million viewers. However, the metrics used by Fox and social media platforms like X are different and not directly comparable.
Impressions, another commonly used metric, also come into play. An impression is counted when a post appears in a user’s timeline after being reposted by another user or when a user actively visits the post page. Views on a post are also included in the count. This means that one user can contribute multiple times to the total view count, further inflating the numbers.
Donald Trump further complicated things by stating that the interview with Carlson had over 230 million views, proclaiming it as “The Biggest Video on Social Media, EVER, more than double the Super Bowl!”
According to Mashable, when digging a little deeper into the data, the true number of times the Tucker Carlson and Trump interview video was played on X is actually around 14.8 million, for at least two seconds of the more than 46-minute interview. That's just over six percent of the 236 million times someone saw the post on the platform.
This scenario also raises questions about transparency and the impact of certain metrics. X removed the public video view count in May. Although never officially explained, this decision led to confusion as posts displayed two different kinds of metrics for a period, often causing users to cite the larger but less accurate figure to assert the popularity of their content. Some older versions of the X application on Android devices actually still provide the public with a tally of video views.
While the numbers may seem astronomical, their meaning depends heavily on how they are counted and interpreted.
Musk’s spotlight on the high viewership numbers of Tucker Carlson’s show on the X platform isn’t an isolated effort to attract advertisers; it’s part of a broader strategy that X has been actively deploying.
In August, X announced a special promotion aimed at incentivizing advertising spend. The platform offered a one-time ad credit of $250 to select businesses that would commit to spending $1,000 or more on new ad campaigns over the following 30 days. The focus was clearly on small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a segment that makes up more than eight in 10 of X’s active customers.
This promotion aligns well with X’s mission to capitalize on the SMB market, and it’s time-sensitive, with the credits expiring on December 31 of the year they are issued. The offer was publicized as a way for more SMBs to “experience the power of X Ads,” according to a post from the platform’s business handle. X appears to be targeting this specific segment to not only increase its advertising revenue but also to offer SMBs a high-reach platform that could potentially give them access to viewership numbers in the millions—or, as Musk pointed out, even higher.
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This article Elon Musk Says Tucker Carlson's Show Is 'Getting More Views Than The Population Of The United States' Now That It's On X And Trump Claims His Interview Was More Popular Than The Super Bowl – Are They Exaggerating? originally appeared on Benzinga.com
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