In an email, Mr. Sacks said his assertion that the Space with Mr. DeSantis was “the biggest room ever” had come from a Twitter engineer. He said he had counted other livestreams that shared the same audio as the original Space.
“I’ve asked for more detailed analytics, but they’re a little busy right now,” Mr. Sacks said.
Mr. Musk and representatives for Mr. DeSantis, who followed his Twitter Space by appearing on Fox News, did not respond to requests for comment.
That is not to say that using social media to make political announcements cannot be powerful. Mr. Wieser said that with so much media fragmentation happening, there was no unifying platform and that the quality of the audience was often a motivating factor for politicians. Perhaps, he said, Mr. DeSantis’s goal was not reaching the most people, but reaching those who would be best persuaded to donate to him or help spread his message.
Comparing social media’s reach with television broadcasts also can be difficult. A “unique” view on social media represents each individual account that visits a post or other content, rather than the number of times it is visited. Such views do not necessarily come from humans, because bot activity might be involved, and do not denote whether a viewer tuned in for half a second or half an hour. By contrast, TV ratings represent the average number of viewers across a longer period, Mr. Wieser said.
Twitter also does not explain the difference in how it counts listeners on its livestreams and those who have listened to recordings of Twitter Spaces.
“The reach on Twitter is artificial: People tune in and out more quickly, they’re likely watching on a mobile device that just isn’t as effective in getting people’s attention as a large TV set,” said Ross Benes, a senior analyst with Insider Intelligence who covers digital video, TV and streaming.
After the conclusion of the Twitter Space on Wednesday with Mr. DeSantis, traditional media poked fun at the technical glitches of the event. When Mr. DeSantis appeared on Fox News, Trey Gowdy, the host, quipped, “Fox News will not crash during this interview.” The segment drew nearly two million viewers.