Twitter Seems To Be Treading Water After A Rough Past Few Months
Twitter seems to be treading water after a rough 2016.
Massive layoffs, cases of censorship, high-level staff departures and a sinking valuation have all reared their head in the past year.
Twitter announced in October that it plans to lay off around 8 percent of its workforce (roughly 300 employees) in the coming months. This was only a year or so after CEO Jack Dorsey fired approximately 336 employees as his first major decision at the helm.
The large dismissal is an apparent attempt to control spending as sales growth stagnates.
Twitter recently notified advertisers that it was overcharging them as much as 35 percent due to a “technical error” in its marketing metrics.
The companies stock has steadily dropped since it first made its initial public offering (IPO) at the end of 2013. The company’s stock is at around 17 (at the time of this article being written) down from its highest ever valuation of 69 in January of 2014.
The social media company was trying to find potential buyers, but no one bit. Salesforce, a cloud computing company, as well as Google, Disney, and Apple, all decided not to make a bid for the company, according to Recode.
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, walked away from a potential deal to acquire Twitter for a number of reasons, like the price, work culture, and namely online “trolls” that lurk throughout the web.
Benioff did not like the reputation that trolls, the informal term for internet users who deliberately post offensive or provocative content, gave the social media company, according to CNBC’s Jim Cramer.
Twitter seemed to take that reasoning to heart because there were several instances of the company suspending accounts associated with either hardcore conservatism or the alt-right.
Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute, an alt-right think tank focused on white nationalism, had his verified Twitter account removed in November.
“This is corporate Stalinism,” Spencer told The Daily Caller News Foundation at the time. “Twitter is trying to airbrush the Alt Right out of existence. They’re clearly afraid. They will fail!”
Spencer spoke at a conference in Washington, D.C., in November where several supporters were seen giving the Nazi salute. His account was eventually reinstated, and Twitter said it originally removed Spencer because he made multiple accounts. (RELATED: Twitter Doesn’t Rule Out Banning Trump If He Gets Too Unruly)
A number of other less contentious people reported that their Twitter accounts had been purged from the website. In fact, the tech company inadvertently suspended its own CEO from Twitter around the time of the alt-right purge. (RELATED: Famous Actor James Woods Boycotts Twitter Due To Censorship)
Twitter once thought of itself as an unfettered forum for free speech.
“Generally, we remain neutral as to the content because our general council [sic] and CEO like to say that we are the free speech wing of the free speech party,” general manager of Twitter in the U.K., Tony Wang, said in 2012 while describing the social media platform.
And internal problems seem to be afoot.
Four top executives left Twitter in less than two months. Both Twitter Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Adam Messinger and Vice President of Product Josh McFarland announced their resignation Tuesday via tweets. The company’s stock fell around 4% following the news of the departures.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) Adam Bain made public he was leaving the company in November after being at Twitter for over five years.
Adam Sharp, the director of media partnerships and head of news, government and elections, also used Twitter earlier this month to announce that he was quitting.
After 5 years I’ve decided to leave Twitter and take some time off. Grateful to @jack for the opportunity and to my team for shipping.
— Adam Messinger (@adam_messinger) December 20, 2016
— Josh McFarland (@crazyfoo) December 20, 2016
After 6 years and a once-in-a-lifetime run, I let Jack know that I am ready to change gears and do something new outside the company.
— adam bain (@adambain) November 9, 2016
Twitter did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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