Zayn Malik claimed when he left One Direction that he wanted to step back from the spotlight, so when producer Naughty Boy released a solo recording earlier this week (claiming it to be a solo Malik track), the backlash from irritated Directioners was severe: The vocalist lost more than 50,000 Twitter followers in the aftermath, according to the New York Daily News.
That, relatively, hardly means anything to the performer, representing only a third of a percent of his remaining 14.6 million followers. It's nothing to sniff at, however, knowing that 50,000 people (the capacity of Aloha Stadium, host of the Pro Bowl) dropped off in less than two days. We'll need to see if the trend continues in the future.
The song in question, "I Won't Mind," was recently revealed to be a leftover One Direction demo, but no one took it well that Malik was already shopping the idea of solo recordings. One of the most vocal opponents was Louis Tomlinson, one of Malik's former bandmates. Although the group had collectively wished him well following his announcement last week, Tomlinson finally kicked down the door and sent some well-placed obscenities to the producer when he heard the news.
"Wow @NaughtyBoyMusic you're so inconsiderate pal," he tweeted. "Seriously how f*cking old are you? Grow up!" (He's 30, for what it's worth)
Malik, for his part, has been quiet on Twitter for two weeks, last tweeting on March 18 about his relationship with fiancé Perrie Edwards of Little Mix.
How has the break-up affected One Direction's social media presence as a band? Quite the opposite in fact. While Malik has lost 50,000 followers, the band as a whole has added 90,000 followers since March 25, the day the former member formally quit.